What Can Manly Men Expect of Women?

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 20, 2009 · 200 comments

in Blog

Awhile back, Leo posted these delightfully nostalgic and funny “Marital Rating Scales” from 1939 in the Community:



After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.

Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wife’s Chart seem even sillier is that a woman’s place in society has changed far more than a man’s during the last 70 years.

But it’s also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this:



It seems like men are catching onto to this movement to recover some of the good things of the past, while holding onto the progress we’ve made. I was just reading this interesting article in the NYT about how 20-something men are rejecting the whole casual, let it all hang out Baby Boomer vibe that’s dominated society for the last few decades and are starting to want to dress up and look sharp. This quote, from a college professor, particularly stood out to me:

“But the younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark,” Mr. Cohen continued. “It’s a real generation gap here. I teach at three different colleges, and I am amazed how dressed up some of the students are. Girls still come in their hoodies and pajamas, but boys come in their suits.”

In some ways, the new movement towards a return to traditional manliness needs women to be on board to be successful. After all, if you have men opening doors and asking women on real dates, and they’re just laughing in your face, that’s clearly not going to work out too well. And if you have men striving to be their best, but they feel like women aren’t even trying, you’ve got a recipe for creating strained relations between the sexes and bitter and disillusioned men who think all women are an unappealing mess who are not worth the trouble of dealing with (something you already see in certain online communities).

We often get emails from women who praise us up and down for the mission of the Art of Manliness. “This is just what men need!” they say. “I love the idea of bringing back traditional manliness!” they tell us. We love that women are on board with the movement, but it makes us wonder, “Okay, if men are manning up, what are women going to do to follow suit?”

After all, if women say they’re not in favor of a genderless society, and they want men to be men, then they have to be prepared for the flip side of that equation. A world where women are women.

Now don’t get me wrong. A man’s desire to man up should really have little to do with women and their opinion of him. Basing their lives around the opinions of women is exactly where men have gone wrong these last few decades. A man should want to seek true manliness out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect.

But it’s also wrong-headed to think that womanliness has nothing to do with manliness. It would be hard to define manliness unless it was juxtaposed beside femininity, the way we wouldn’t be able to define dark, without the experience of light.

And it’s also indisputable that men used to be motivated to be honorable men because they felt they got something in return from the women in their lives. Manning up involves some sacrifice, but men didn’t feel like they were the only ones making an effort. Men dressed up, took women on dates and paid, brought home the bacon, took care of their wives, and acted as the rock in the family. In return, they could count on women to look classy and attractive, be charming, cook dinner, take care of the house and kids, and make her man feel like king of the castle.

But these days a new double standard has emerged where it’s okay to celebrate men manning up, but telling women they need to recover some of their femininity is offensive. To wit:

A woman telling a man to stop looking like a slob and dress up. Awesome!

A man telling a woman to stop looking like a slob and take care of herself. Sexist!

Saying that men should stop hooking up with women. Awesome!

Saying that women should stop sleeping around. Sexist!

Saying that men should get off the couch and go to work. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should be nurturing with kids. Sexist!

Saying that men should take the initiative in relationships. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should let the man lead (ever!). Sexist!

Well, you get the idea. The are a few reasons for the disparity. The first is that men spent most of world history in a position of privilege (although there were real downsides to being a man during this time, too). Then the women’s movement happened and they lost that position. So when it comes to recovering  aspects of traditional manliness, men are excited to get on board (not because they want the exact same position back, but simply because they see the past fondly). Women, on the other hand, fought for the last few decades for the position that they now find themselves in. So even if they aren’t totally happy with it, looking back to recover what was good about the past makes them feel like they’re betraying what their sisters fought for. And if anyone suggests that bringing back some old school femininity might be a good idea, it’s been ingrained in them that they should be offended.

Second, women have historically been put on a pedestal, as the protectors of morality, while men have been disparaged as being baser in their nature. So it’s always been socially acceptable to castigate men but not women, because of the implicit understanding that women were just naturally pure and didn’t need much external encouragement to be “good.” Some feminists still seem to hold to this idea-that men and women are equal, but really-wink, wink- we all know that men are actually pigs. A real head scratcher to be sure.

But these days women say they don’t want to be on a pedestal, that putting them there is sexist! So now that we’re on equal footing, can we admit that today’s women need some work too?

Could we perhaps say that equality shouldn’t mean embracing and outdoing men in things that were traditionally considered masculine? That making out with other chicks for attention and lifting your shirt for beads and getting smashed and burping the alphabet and dressing in sweatsuits really has very little to do with being “liberated?”

That if men are going to know their way around a kitchen, that maybe women could, too? (I know lots of women my age who couldn’t cook to save their life.)

That you can’t insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally “independent woman?” (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there aren’t any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about “losing their identity” that they can’t settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)

Now don’t get me wrong. We’re certainly not advocating a “Get back in the kitchen!” movement. Just like traditional manliness, recovering traditional womanliness will require sorting through which is the baby and which is the bathwater. And that sorting seems like an even more difficult task than it is for men. A veritable minefield where PC-ness, reality, history and progress collide.

But that is where I’d like to start this discussion. What aspects of femininity do you wish women would once again embrace? If you’re manning up, what do you expect of women? I’m also interested in what our female readers have to say about the subject.

101 Loris December 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm

@ Sean F. Glass, I ran the list by him and he agreed that my assessment was accurate. Discipline was always an issue in his home when he was young, and he was never taught how to select a mate and be a good husband himself. Big time parental failings there.
On the flip side, I was an only child and was my mom’s default helper. By age 13 I could competently clean the house, alter my own clothing on the sewing machine (I’m well above average female height) and cook a meal unassisted. My mother was adamant that I must not be a helpless adult, whether I married right away after college (which I did) or lived away from home as a single.

We are both young (early-mid 20s) and haven’t been blessed with a child yet, so we have time to work on our relationship. We’re talking to our pastor, and will be seeing a marriage counselor in the new year. I just get very frustrated sometimes when I see lists of feminine virtues because I’ve been working hard to develop qualities that would make me an interesting friend, good employee, and excellent wife since I was a teen, and now I have to wait for my husband to catch up.

102 Shmikey December 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Maybe I live in an alternate reality to everyone, but I have experienced plenty of women who are living the traditional role of women, by staying home and nurturing the family. This is a vocation that has been rejected to the detriment of society. Have women been abused in that role, absolutely! But they have also been given the privilege of being the one who forms the heart of the family, and that is equal to importance as is the man,s vocation to be the protector and head (as in reasoning) of the family. Feminists have rejected the one thing that they are created to be, life givers, in order to take for themselves the roles of men in society. I know that feminists will bash me for that, but I could care less, for they have embraced a lie, that they can be everything that a man is and expect men to respect them for it. True feminism, of the Susan B. Anthony variety rejected this mentality, and demanded that they be respected with the dignity they deserved as women, and that they are protected by society from degradation and to have the feminine voice be heard. That is a far cry from the Gloria Steinem revolution of the 70′s, that demanded that women can have everything, and to reject what it is that makes a woman feminine. A woman is dignified by what is hers alone, and that is the ability to affect the heart of society. It was that voice that persuaded Americans to give women the right to vote, the right to own property, and the right be protected from abuse. But I reject the right to murder an innocent child so that I can fulfill may desires, the feminists call for a choice, is really a rejection of their femininity. My experience with feminists is that they are joyless, and have created for themselves a miserable existence while in my experience, truly feminine women find joy in being women.

103 Caden December 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Good article, though I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of the ‘women on a pedestal’ thing. Original sin and all that?

104 Ibrahim | TwentiesLife.com December 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm

This was hilarious and genius. AOM never fails to deliver!

105 Lynn December 21, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I’m a man on the average to small side. My muscles are stringy to average. Among our group of friends I’m the smallest. Being small influences my behavior around large men. It isn’t that I lack courage so much as an instinctive attitude of self-preservation that causes me to be more diplomatic and circumspect around large men than I am around men of my own size. I wonder if, after thousands of years, the behavior or women has not been genetically influenced by the difference in size and muscle between men and women. If so, it might be unreasonable to expect precise equality between the sexes. I also wonder from time to time if, women’s nature being what it presently is, the size and muscle of the sexes were reversed if women would have been any better to men than men have been to women. The attitudes and behaviors of men and women, it seems, have been influenced in varied and subtle ways over very long time periods by our biology. It seems to me that our common human nature is the same, but expressed and viewed differently by each sex. Most men want an honorable, loyal, loving woman and most women prize those same characteristics in a man. I think we view those characteristics slightly differently through the “lens” of our own experience, but generally they are similar enough so that we recognize them when we see them. I’ve been married more than forty years and I brought those characteristics to this marriage as did my wife. In subtle ways the our best characteristics have been refined, improved and enlarged while our worst flaws have been softened, reduced or eliminated. We have nine other couples with whom we have been friends since college and I recognize in them the same subtle and refining changes that I see in my own marriage.
The problem, of course, is that this is anecdotal and may not reflect the way our culture is generally.

106 Leo December 21, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for the note, Brett! Great article, as usual! :-D

107 Peter O'Reilly December 21, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Great article. However, telling men not to hook up with women isn’t awesome at all. If anything, we should encourage men to have the type of relationship they want. If a man is looking for marriage, go for it. If all he wants is to hook up, we should support him for doing so and show him that he can hook up without lying or being sleazy about it. You can hook up as a respectable gentleman and women will appreciate you for doing so.

108 Mitchel December 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Guys, we need to look at the subject with a dose of reality. If you’re looking for a gal with old fashioned values and gender roles then quit giving these liberal femi-natzis the time of day. When you hear them whine about equal pay, don’t bother pointing them to the posters that adorn the HR office and bulletin board JUST DROP THEM. When they whine about having to do the housework, don’t offer to help JUST DROP THEM. When they whine about how the traditional masculine role is antiquated and not suitable for modern society, don’t try to extol the virtues of manlieness JUST DROP THEM.
If you don’t get rid of them now they will drive you insane until you finally get rid of them. Spend a little more time finding a lady that values you and that you can value as well and leave the feminist women to fend for themselves, alone and by themselves. That way they can finally have the equality they claim to want so bad.

109 Michael December 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Kate – theartofbeingalady.com

Just sayin’.

110 Kate McKay December 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm


It was actually Brett and I thinking through that very idea that prompted our writing this post! We get a lot of requests to start a sister site. But as you can tell, defining womanliness is a lot harder (and more controversial!) than talking about manliness. But a lot of women could use such a site-most of the stuff out there for women is snarky or fluffy. So we go back and forth about launching the project. You never know!

111 David Allen Hippchen December 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Perhaps simply cultivating self-reliability and respectfulness from both genders, not just from men or women would really bring out true equality, and just by simple application restore the necessary roles for both men and women.

112 Frank Rosquin December 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

All I can say, once again, is that I do not like Patterns, Roles, Expectations. There is nothing a man should or should not be, nor is there anything a women should or should not be.

There is likewise nothing a man or a women can not be. The thing that matters to me is for men and women alike to be honest and consistent in their expectations. Do not expect all, and give nothing.

A feminist can never be emancipated, because she desperately clings to a role pattern. Really, just be clear and honest about your intentions and your expectations. Do you expect me to treat you as an intellectual equal? Then offer interesting conversation. Do you expect to be treaded courteous? Then treat others in a courteous manner. Do you want to be treated like a princess (or a prince)? Then treat your partner/date as prince (or princess). Do you really hate doing the dishes? Then offer to do something your partner dislikes doing.

Not knowing how to cook does not set you free, it only enslaves you more. I know how to cook, which means the choice becomes mine, not yours. Liberate yourself, not by following trends, or dogmas, but by setting and following clear and honest expectations.

All of this applies to men and women alike. Relation ships of any kind are an interactive, two way deal. Give and Receive. Be fair, be honest, be communicative, be consistent. This is the modern age. Men and women can be anything they aspire to be. But in order to live together, be it romantically or professionally, we need to know what to expect from one and other.

113 Elizabeth Wright December 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm

This was a great article!! The double standard is SO infuriating! I can hardly tolerate women who want men to be this and this but do nothing to meet that same standard! Shouldn’t they be excelling? No-they want their cake and to eat it too. I agree you with you. If we hold men to a high standard, they have every right to hold us to a high standard as well. Equality and all that ;)

Awesome article!

114 Chris December 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm

NIce job ladies on hijacking the post. Ironically on a post for what men expect of women. Truely remarkable.

With the tens of thousands of web sites dedicated to women only, I wonder how many of the ladies would like to duplicate their same efforts but for men only? I´d like to see that response.

115 beshemoth December 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

@Chris. Um. Well. I can’t speak for any other ladies here, but I’m sorry you feel women shouldn’t be speaking on this subject. Only, the original post did specifically ask us what we thought too.If it had said, please, no ladies, then I for one would have respected that.

I don’t know if you’re a Chris who has posted upstream of this, so, if you aren’t, I for one would be happy to know your opinions on the original article? If you are a Chris who has posted, however, sorry!

116 Chris December 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm

beshemoth, my comment is not a feeling. I observe that ladies hyjacked this post to discuss what you want a few men can do for you.

Further, do not falsely accuse of writting that women should not post here.

I have little concern for American gender issues as I do not live in the USA. I live in a country where women do not want to act like men. Anyway my opinion on gender issues matters as much as spit in the ocean. The trend in western countries to further marginalize masculinity in men (but not women) will continue unchanged.

117 beshemoth December 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm

@Chris, I apologise for the misunderstanding, since you didn’t mean that women shouldn’t be posting on this thread then I am sorry I thought you meant that. I know this is a site mainly for men and have been following it for a while because I applaud the movement to regain a dignified concept of manhood. I rarely comment because I know most of the threads are by men for men, and want to respect that. What country are you from, out of interest?

118 Andrew December 21, 2009 at 7:55 pm

It’s encouraging to know others see the ridiculousness of the double standard that exists in society today. As I have begun to dress nicer myself, it is generally the girls, not the boys, who make me say to myself “geez, have a little respect for yourself”. I would never be caught dead wearing sweatpants in public, unless I was on my way to the gym. I wish I could find a girl who isn’t like the one in that comic strip.

Keep up the good work!

119 beshemoth December 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

@ Andrew. With you on that one (and everyone else who mentioned it). I wear trackies (as they say in Scotland, and possibly other places) to my street-fighting class because there isn’t a female changing room and I don’t think the guys are quite ready for me to strip off in front of them – hell, I’ve just managed to get them comfortable enough not to pull their punches! And I feel deadly uncomfortable wearing trackies in public.

120 Matt December 21, 2009 at 8:38 pm

I think Kim has a very good point, that both ideals of masculinity and femininity are in a large part based on respect. There’s a lot to be said for simply being considerate towards each other, and letting your respective strengths and weaknesses complement each other (and they will be different for each couple, one may be organized, the other not, one good at household repairs, the other better at balancing the checkbook, etc.)

Also, I don’t think there has to be any sense of “surrender” in being a lady. Once one ditches the Victorian of the delicate perpetual child, “lady” can come to stand a woman who is composed and in control. Not some icy prude, either, that attitude speaks of its own kind of insecurity. A real lady should be able to smile and laugh, roll up her sleeves and get dirty if the occasion demands it, but keep some kind of poise through it all.

I think, if we’re going to get into the modern connotation the word we’re NOT looking for is “princess.” A princess is only a princess with her nice clothes and admirers and when she’s surrounded by her toys.
A queen, on the other hand, is just as much a queen in muddy hiking boots and work clothes as she is in an evening gown. Am I making sense?

121 Mary-Rose December 21, 2009 at 8:44 pm

A favorite quote of mine:
“When woman is feminine she has the strength God gives to her, when she is defeminised she has only the strength she gives herself.” ~ Giuseppe Cardinal Siri

122 cgirlslife December 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm

This post has been popping into my head all day, along with may of the comments. It took a while for me to figure it out, but I finally realized what was bothering me; when talking about “femininity” and “what men can expect from women” things like character were never mentioned.

I have issues with what I perceive to be “traditional” roles of women and ideas of femininity. I admit that, please don’t focus on that, and listen to what I say.

Much of what I’ve read in the comments are that women should take pride in their looks, should take pride in a good meal and clean house and spend time raising their children right. But mostly what I hear my male friends complain about is that girls “don’t say what they mean” or “don’t think about things other than makeup or clothes” or “you can’t trust them”

This is where I think character comes in. I’m not a traditional woman, I’m not conservative, I’m a pagan Goddess Worshiper. However, I yearn to be a ‘gracious lady.’ After giving it some thought, here are a list of things that I strive to do.

1. Be honest, with my friends, acquaintances and myself.
2. Always keep my promises, never say I can do something if I have no intention of following through.
3. Ask for what I want and need, as clearly and calmly as possible.
4. Compliment my husband on specific things he’s done well, and thank him for taking care of this.
5. Mention, every day, to my husband that I love him, and that I’m lucky to have him.

After having practiced the above items for years, I’ve noticed that my relationship with my husband has improved. My confidence has increased and I’m less likely to engage in catty behavior. Now when my husband points to a pretty girl I can, usually, smile and say “yes, she is pretty” and feel confident that he wants to go home with me.

123 Joe December 21, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Great post, really enjoyed it. However, I remember reading a comment that women are overwhelmingly the targets and consumers of beauty products and beauty culture and that is sexist. But if men were the overwhelming targets of beauty advertisements and cleaning product advertisements, wouldn’t that be seen as sexist too? Men are targeted when it comes to sports advertisements… but I do not feel like that is sexist, just the way it works. Also, advertising is targeted at someone that would buy the product. Maybe women shop more for those products, since women seem to shop more than men do in general. The problem is that people, and it seems to me like more women than men, can look at anything in the world and yell out “THAT IS SEXIST!”

124 Dave December 22, 2009 at 1:04 am

@Matt and cgirlslife. Great points, after reading through the article and comments I think you guys are starting to hit the nail on the head.

What should a MAN expect out of a woman? Well quite frankly that she should be a WOMAN. Now defining what WOMAN is in today’s society is clearly not an easy task. The feminists and chauvinists have drawn battle lines that make it seem that if you are not completely for them, you are against them, but I think we can all agree that neither side is right(or practical in terms of a healthy relationship).

The key flaw in much of this discussion has been focusing on WHAT a man should expect a woman should DO, rather than WHO a man should expect a woman to BE. First and foremost a WOMAN should actually be a grown-up. This means that she has the ability to support herself should she need to, as well as the maturity to respect herself and those around her. Her world is also not ruled like trivial things like gossip or material goods.

Secondly, a WOMAN should take pride in her self and her appearance. This rule equally applies to MEN. Life’s dress code is not black tie, but no one looks good in sweatpants.

Finally, and most controversially, a man should also expect a woman he is with to be secure enough around him and herself to take the secondary role in the relationship. If both partners are constantly battling each other for control, the relationship will be unhappy and ultimately doomed. This is not to say that the man should ever act in a manner which would disrespect his woman, just that for a MAN to be truly happy in his relationship, he needs to feel that he is in control. On the flip side of this, a WOMAN should not submit to any man until he has proved himself worthy to be the MAN in her life.

Now as far as particular chores go, if both members of the relationship are really a MAN and WOMAN, the breakdown of who does the dishes or the laundry should be a non-issue. Both members will have enough respect for themselves and the other to come to an equitable compromise.

125 Sandy December 22, 2009 at 1:07 am

I think I see where you were trying to go with this post. If my decision to man up should not be based on the opinions of women, I think it should follow that men’s opinions should not dictate women’s efforts to be better women. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have an opinion about the role of women. In fact, having an opinion about a man’s role necessarily implies something about the role of those who are not men. It might be instructive to explore this and see what we are saying about the role of women while we are defining our role as men. Unfortunately, I feel the discussion you started has been little more than bashing “feminazis” and other assorted liberal boogeymen. It doesn’t seem very manly to me to bitch and whine about how today’s women just aren’t living up to some men’s standards.

As someone who is dubious about the value of traditional gender roles to begin with, I’ve been impressed with the intelligent way you have approached many of these issues in your blog. I’d be interested to read more of your views on this matter, Brett and Kate. I expect that would be a much more enlightening read than the outright woman-bashing that has dominated in some of the replies here.

126 Elise December 22, 2009 at 1:30 am

We love that women are on board with the movement, but it makes us wonder, “Okay, if men are manning up, what are women going to do to follow suit?”

Umm, work full-time, take care of the kids, do the housework, pay the bills, maintain her health and appearance, be readily available for sex, have a good social life, and get her phd in physics, all while taking care of everyone else in her life?

Maybe women are on-board because they also want to return to a more traditional role. Or, maybe it’s because they are thinking, finally! Men want to act like adults. I can finally get some help.

If you really want to know what men can “expect” if they act like men, it’s this: nothing. You don’t define your own ideals and strive for them so that you can turn around and tell someone else that THEY must live by your ideals for THEM too.
Unless what you meant is, what do manly men want in a partner? That’s up to the individual. Individual men can look for whatever traits they want.

127 Wrathbone December 22, 2009 at 1:50 am

An Art of Womanliness site is long overdue. As much as I love this site and always return to it from time to time to get some great pointers or just to buck myself up a bit, it’s seems like a wasted effort at times when I see what the other gender is doing. The part about “hoodies and sweatpants” is very true. It’s hard to put my best appearance forward when my female classmates look like they came to class in the clothes they slept in, which they probably did.

But it goes further than that. Women need to well…woman-up. So many young ladies are stuck in this permanent state of being sixteen. Here are a few qualities I propose to young women if they hope to hook the best Manly Men around:

1. Get a freaking personalty! When I ask you during the date “what is your passion,” you should not struggle for an answer. Read some books, watch some offbeat movies, listen to an artist that none of your other friends do. Show me you’re independent and I’ll give you all the independence your feminist forebears told you that you deserve. If your passion comes in a bottle or your interests are broadcast to you via MTV, you’re going to get the exact same kind of guys you see on that channel: douchebags. Also, cheer up. Smile. Have a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself but never put yourself down. And learn to take a compliment.

2. Drinking: I have to stress this because I browse the personals enough to know it’s a problem, THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT GETTING DRUNK. When I see a woman in person or in an online picture, and she’s holding a half-empty bottle of Jaeger and her skin looks like it’s been greased down with Crisco (that sheen everyone gets when they’re thoroughly tanked), it says something to me. That the first and last time I run my fingers through your hair will be when I’m holding it back as you vomit up the dinner I paid for. A glass of wine with a meal or an an after-dinner cocktail is perfect acceptable. It’s when you’re making Tara Reid look tame that you’ve gone too far. Drink Canada Dry, it’s a slogan, not a dare.

3. Don’t wear anything that says PINK, PRINCESS, JUICY, PHAT, or HOTT on it. It makes me want to card you before even speaking to you at length.

4. What is going on with your tastes in music and movies these days? If you share the same taste in culture with your 10 year-old niece, something is wrong. Harry Potter is not literature. Twilight is not cinema. And anything MTV promotes is definitely not music. Shut that crap off and listen to a woman with brains. Tori Amos is a great start…and my ideal picture of femininity as well.

5. Put…the…phone…down. And shut…it…off. Now. It’s a neon sign that says “SELF-OBSESSED” when you are texting enough to look like you’re writing War and Peace. First of all, it’s says that you’re too lazy or think too little of the people in question when you don’t have the decency to actually talk to them. Second, it’s a good indication of what you’ll be doing across from us on the first date. Unplug, darling. It’s ok to face reality once in a while. (My personal policy is that I leave my cellphone in the car during the date. If I see her phone AT ALL during the date, that’s the last one we go on. I am willing to give her my full undivided attention because I believe she’s worth it, I would only expect the same.)

6. No decent man expects a pencil-thin woman. That is a BS myth designed by European fashion designers whose interest in women is negligible at best. So take care of yourself on both sides of the spectrum. Just as there are women out there who are damaging themselves to achieve an impossible body image of being slender, there are also some women who could stand to go a few minutes on a treadmill. Manly Men have been taught how to take care of ourselves physically while ditching the “washboard ab” aesthetic, you ladies can follow suit.

128 Eric December 22, 2009 at 1:57 am

For thousands and thousands of years, women have been the “followers”. Recently, they’ve finally emerged as equals, and — in some cases — leaders. I say “good for them”, but if they say “if a man can do it, then so can a woman,” then I say “if a woman can do it, then so can a man.”

129 Wrathbone December 22, 2009 at 2:42 am

7. I’m not sure when “liberated” became the nice way of saying “slutty,” but I’m pretty sure it happened right around the time Paris Hilton became a household name. Simply put, you ladies cannot prowl for a great life partner while playing musical mattresses. Everyone is entitled to a “freshman year” in their young adult lives regardless of whether you went to college, but eventually that has to end. A man of pride and confidence is not going to settle for being a mere blip on your radar in an sea of infinite hook-ups. So leave your wild and reckless past where it belongs: in the past. And keep it to yourself. I would also have to again go back to the online personals and say that it’s perfectly all right to post pictures of yourself with guy friends. It’s when you post pictures of guys with their hands all over you or their tongues in your ear that we see all too clearly what a typical “girls night out” for you is like. And a few swimsuit pictures aside, I’d rather see you for the first time in lingerie or semi-nude IN PERSON. Leave a little to the imagination.

130 Michael C December 22, 2009 at 6:31 am

My my, what an impassioned discussion on both sides!
Having read through all of the comments I see two different types of commenters. There are those who read the article and add or omit to the content in order to fit their expectations of what such an article would say, and there are those who read the article and take the heart of it.

I’m not going to talk about which chores which spouse should do because it isn’t a question of skill or natural inclination, but of each couple’s agreed upon roles (you did talk about these things when you got married, right?).

As far as my expectations of a womanly woman, I would hope that she would respect me enough to tell me what she’s thinking and feeling, without passive aggressive evasion or “hints”. I want a woman that respects herself enough to leave things to the imagination, both in attire, conduct, and speech. I want a woman that acknowledges my faults in a constructive and loving way, and allows me to do the same. I want a woman that knows what she wants but also knows when to abandon those wants when they are not realistic. I want a woman that will approach me when she feels she is getting the short end of the stick so that we can solve the problem together. I want a woman that knows that I am a man, and that I might occasionally see the world differently, and that that does not give any greater or lesser merit to my opinions. I want intelligence and a developed appreciation for art, film, and music. Lastly, I want a woman that doesn’t read implications into the small traditional gestures I perform, regardless of the historical reasoning behind them.

That final one may need a little explanation so here I go: Historically, men held doors and such because women were thought to be weaker or more fragile. I hold doors for women because it is a way of showing respect. To make a genderless comparison, I shake with my right hand rather than my left, not because I want to show that I have no intention of reaching for my sword, but because it is the manly and adult way to do so.

131 trois December 22, 2009 at 7:09 am

Great article – and excellent comments!
What I expect of women? Less drama – as emotions ruin so many great things – many women feel they are sort of entitled to have their emotions rule, randomly, no matter how inconsistent, irrational or even hurtfull (to both themselves and others). In that sense I feel women act like it’s their prerogative to point out any inconsiderate word or action by men (“you can’t say that”, “I don’t like it when you…”), yet they don’t apply those rules to their own behavior – hijacking morals and standards, but conveniently forgetting that guys like to be treated fairly as well – that inconsistency, those double standards mess up too many relationships, I’m afraid. Leaving the good guys frustrated, bruised and lost – resulting in more caution with the next woman. For balance: men can be jerks, but for many their commitment-fear is the result of emasculation-angst – they see their married buddies ‘change’ overnight (and yes, many men really do need to change, there’s no denying, but it shouldn’t be forced on them as a form of submission to the woman).

I’m over-analytical, but usually I can dissect issues/behavior quite well, showing why things go the way they do – without judgement. Yet, whereas women expect (even demand!) empathy, EQ and what not from men these days (which is fine I guess, as long as it doesn’t become a ploy to rule over him), men can not expect some ratio, logic and analysis in return? We’re not all stuck in our high school years with a maximum of 4 basic needs – some men really have a clue and, I dare say, could point out ways how she could have a better life – without the intention of ‘wanting to change her’. Maybe it is called ‘leading’? Yet that last part is the red flag that modern women have been indoctrinated to, so yet again, it becomes emotional – instead of constructive (in general, that is – there are smarties that don’t need outside influences like Cosmo and the mass-media to make up their minds – as some of the comments here show).
But then maybe I run into the ‘wrong’ kind of woman – the ones that need a therapist rather than a ‘man’… So yeah, perhaps time for some self-revaluation here as well… As David Shade calls it: ‘select women wisely’.

@ Kate – I think you registered ‘artofwomanliness.com’ last year? Was thinking how that would going to look like, as you’re treading a potential minefield – if you evoke the ire of the likes of jezebeldotcom, you & Brett better find yourself some witness protection program…

132 Edward December 22, 2009 at 9:33 am

It strikes me that this discussion isn’t really about men and women but an overall type of person that readers of this site aspire to be. Let’s break it down.

The core aspects that AOM defines for a man are:
Self sufficency – Be able to maintain a household in a tidy manner by oneself and be comfortable being independent. So we should all know how to cook, clean, garden, dress, do DIY, etc.
Hard work – know when to just knuckle down and get on with it.
These are the three core personality traits that are emphasised on AOM.
Also, there’s an emphasis on expanding ones Skills/Knowledge. This is like the icing on the cake – the things that will pique our interest in one person or another.

If you actually take a step back and look at these four things on a macro scale, they are just as applicable to women. I want any woman I’m with to be able to fend for themselves and be happy in and of themselves, I also want them to take care of their body and to be strong willed enough to push through certain hardships. On top of that, I’d like them to be interested in expanding their mind through learning new skills, or at least have some sort of specific interests that I can appreciate.

Now obviously the specifics are going to be a bit different an some subjects will be a bit more sensitive than others but, with the core aspects being aligned, there’s no reason for artofwomanliness to be a difficultly.

133 Peter December 22, 2009 at 10:12 am

I was a bit disappointed by how this site handled this subject. Instead of complaining how society is not letting men whine about the way women carry themselves, I think that “What Can Manly Men Expect of Women” could have been an opportunity to extol the virtues of young women who do carry themselves well.

As for the comments section, I see a lot of veiled and not-so-veiled sexism. I think we men have a lot more growing up to do.

134 Loris December 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

Here are a few of my observations of what men want from women based on my 4 year marriage:

1. Keep yourself up. Don’t fight your genes, but do what you can with what you have. Even if you’re chubby or plain or whatever, discover your best features and colors and play them up. Dress neatly and smartly and accessorize with a big smile. I had a short, chubby college roommate who was convinced she could never get a date because she was short and chubby and that men were all shallow because if God loved her as is, so should the guys around her. I finally had to tell her that it wasn’t her short chubbiness, it was her lack of hygiene and bad attitude. Guys don’t necessarily want the supermodel, but brushing one’s teeth is always a must. (sigh) She finally got desperate enough she was receptive to what I had to say, and I was able to work with her to show her what styles and colors looked best on her. She also, mercifully, started bathing more often.

2. Talking about other people is fine to a point. Men want to hear the news too. But they don’t want to hear it endlessly rehashed, with some character smearing in the process. Discuss the situation with him once. If you feel like rehashing, go to a girlfriend. (And ask yourself why it really needs to be worked over for the third or fourth time) Don’t babble endlessly about the personal lives of people he hasn’t met if you happen to hear something about them. My husband tends to do the latter and I’m always like, “Huh? Who? What does that have to do with anything?” He absolutely hates the former. Even if he can’t stand the person I’m talking about, he doesn’t want to hear any character assassination or negative attribution.

3. If he does something you like, tell him so. Tell him again in a few hours. If you get the chance, praise him to his friends: “Hubby did X the other day. He did a great job, and it really took some pressure off me.”

4. Try his hobbies. You may like them (I’m coming around to the video games; Taekwondo didn’t stick because the instructor was a flake and it was too much of a time sink). Even if you don’t stick with them, you’ll better understand what he’s talking about, and he’ll respect you for having tried. Sadly, my husband doesn’t feel the need to reciprocate on this one.

5. Learn to cook. If neither of you can cook, learn together. If he does most of the cooking, learn a few signature recipes so you can give him a night off that doesn’t involve carryout. It often means a lot to a man if you can host a meal for his family, even if you don’t cook regularly. It’s important to have the skill, whether or not you have to exercise it often.

6. Don’t hint around. I used to be very guilty of this because of my family’s situation when I was a child. It pretty much never mattered what I wanted, so if I never directly voiced my desires, I couldn’t be too disappointed when it didn’t happen. My parents weren’t insensitive or neglectful, but they were limited in what they could do for me–first because of their work duties as missionaries overseas, later because of my father’s illness that required my mother’s round-the-clock care. As an adult, if I want to do something, I need to say so. Not “I want you to pay more attention to me,” but “I want to eat at X soon with you and then go see the Christmas lights in the park. Remind me if we have any plans for Thursday night? No? Can we do this then?” If he asks me if there’s something I want, I tell him something specific-a book title, or a link to a piece of jewelry.

135 Matthew Gabavics December 22, 2009 at 11:07 am

Awesome article Brett. I will have to share this with all my friends and my wife too.

136 CK December 22, 2009 at 11:12 am

For lack of time, I will just say that I appreciate your focus on this issue. Another interesting double standard focus might be on women’s expectation for men to not indulge in looking at other women (which I agree with), but then see nothing wrong with indulging in emotional attachments and experiences (such as in other male relationships, books, or specifically movies). Our culture has been inundated in emotional pornography for women and our women indulge in pleasure it brings (cary grant, fred astaire, hugh grant, twilight movies, grey’s anatomy, romance novels, etc.). How can us manly men, who strive to love and support our wives, compete with unrealistic super-human caricatures of emotional connection? What the physical connection for men in a relationship tends to be equivalent to what the emotional connection is to women. Men, experience and love your wives. Women, experience and love you husbands. Anyways, sorry I don’t have time flesh out a clearer post.

137 Chemical Erik December 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

While mentioned several time previously, the biggest issue I see in women (at least those over 25), is the whether or not they can speak plainly. When a woman actually knows what she want or desires and has the courage to say it plainly she is instantly more attractive. This is something my wife has made big strides at during our marriage.

If a woman wants a solid relationship with a good man, she should be very upfront about it. That should include a basic view of what she sees as a quality relationship. It will scare off the those not interested in a real relationship and draw in the good men who share those ideals. Of course, this only works when the woman wants a serious relationship, though most women who read this are certainly there.

I think what may surprise many women, is that many men want to make them happy. In fact, when our actions make a woman happy, it actually makes us happy. As an example, just a few days ago my wife told me she would like to drive around looking at Christmas lights. Now, I’d never think of this as something that would make me happy by itself. Yet, I knew it would make my wife happy. While the lights weren’t that entertaining, we had a great conversation as a family (wife, daughter and myself). We talked about the great lights at some houses and laughed at how few lights were up in the most expensive neighborhoods. It was a great evening because she spoke plainly and I viewed her happiness above my whims.

138 Emily December 22, 2009 at 11:59 am

There are a lot of mixed messages about what it is to be a woman, what feminity is, and how to maintain a relationship from the side of a woman. It may seem clear, but the more I interact with late 20/early 30s men in dating the more I realize they are trying to navigate what they want in a woman as much as I’m trying to find a balance between of self-identity, independence and maintaining feminity while building capability to be in a relationship and being inviting to a man “being-a-man”. There is a lot more to it than simply accepting certain natural roles on both sides, but there is a simplicity i think once we get it. In the mean time, we get a lot of mixed messages. http://www.dove.us/?dl=/haircare#/features/videos/default.aspxcp-documentid=7049579/

139 Nathan December 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm

This article really reached out to me and what I have been thinking for the last few years. I was lucky enough to meet the one girl who made me so happy that we’ve been together almost 7 years without so much as a fight. But I consider myself lucky, because I have friends that can’t find decent girls to be with. More and more I find myself “comparing” other girls just to show myself how lucky I really am.

Most girls that I know or have been around aren’t worth the effort, trouble, drama, or dare I say bullshit, that they bring around. It make’s me afraid for what’s to come in the future. Most girls I know are still immature, still act wild and crazy, go out boozing at least 3 nights a week, and at under 25 years old can’t count on two hands the men they have slept with. I have been seeing girls that are younger and younger dressing and acting like something out of a strip club or brothel. It worries me, and I’m only 23. It makes me almost deathly afraid of having children because lord forbid it would turn out to be a girl. My worst fear is if I did, would she try to act this way? It almost makes me not want to have children at all.

But back to the issue of women. If men can responsible and accountable for being manly, then women should be held to the same standard. Just the same way some men are still called boys because of how they act, women could be said to not be very lady-like. I think if more of today’s younger crowd took this to heart we might see some of this behavior die down. And I’m not saying that there aren’t some men out there that don’t act the same way either, believe me I know a lot of men that could benefit from the lessons that could be learned here at the AoM. In closing, I don’t feel that there is a need for “Back to the kitchen” movement either, but I do feel that some of the younger girls now a days could use a few lessons from that chapter in the book of Womanliness.

140 Mr Miyagi December 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm

What do I expect from women? Sex, sex, and more sex please. Oh yes and if you can cook then I will not even wait to marry you because you my lady are a rare jewel. Simple as that.

141 Chemical Erik December 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

@Mr Miyagi – That attitude is exactly what has screwed up so many women today. Yes, married couples should certainly have more sex than is typical and more often women are the ones refusing (though a few men are guilty of this as well). But if sex is the only thing you want, go to a brothel until you grow up and quite messing up good women.

142 miss Morgan Potts December 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm

As a 20-something woman, I think a much different approach to this subject is needed. “Traditional” womanliness is not at all appealing because it invokes images of housewives chained to the stove and glorifies submission.

What can manly men expect of women? Strength, drive and class. Reclaiming femininity should not be about learning how to please a husband, just as being manly isn’t really about finding a woman. Being a woman today should be about the same virtues of manliness: keeping up your appearance, knowing how to handle yourself on a date and in relationships, landing a good job, being a good parent, etc. The modern notion of manliness looks back because there are some really cool things about a time when all men wore suits and caps and shaved with proper razors, but womanliness needs to look forward.

I for one am constantly asked “Why are you so dressed up?”, and always attempt to act with poise and speak articulately. I’m educated and polite, and know how to handle myself in every social situation. This is the same behaviour I expect men. We can only hope that young men and women alike will aim for a higher level of class, as this site advocates.

143 Sarah December 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I read this site because I think the skills discussed here are useful for anyone to know. That said, I disagree with much of this article. I don’t think women as a whole (feminist or not) have any advantage over men. I think the issues you discuss here are more due to class and age than to gender. I went to college just a few years ago at a school with feminist leanings and most every woman dressed up quite a bit for class.

Those “Awesome/Sexist” statements you listed don’t really reflect society. Depending on the person, one may believe all of those statements are awesome or all are sexist. It isn’t sexist unless society is forcing people into those roles based solely on sex. You’re really comparing apples and oranges with those statements. Especially the one with work vs. kids.

144 Jennifer December 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Thank you for sharing. I found this post very insightful. I could not aggree more.

145 Mr Miyagi December 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm

@ Chemical Erik– dude are you taking estrogen pills or something? I’m not talking about sexual abuse or taking advantage of a woman. Reality is all men enjoy great sex and the older you get the harder it is to find time for it. But I believe that the women who make the time are rewarded with men who are more willing to do things they want. You can always spot the couple who has a more fulfilling love/sex life. It’s really all about making sure the lady is happy, because if she’s not then it doesn’t matter what a guy says or wants. But yes, the way to most men’s hearts is through their stomach ladies, so learn to cook too. Why do you think so many Americans are marrying women from south America or other third world countries? Because the women there are still being raised up to be women and not men.

146 Michael J December 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

It is very sad to hear so many men complaining that women expect too much of them or that women have unrealistic ideals that they hold men to. Ideals are meant to be unrealistic. Women don’t usually expect men to fit them just try to come close. If your blaming your failure to start or maintain relationships on this or any other trivial excuse like “second function assumption” you should probably reevaluate your approach. Women respond to men that display manly characteristics. Most women have the capacity and want to display traditionally feminine traits, and when approached by a manly man will do so naturally and unwittingly. I think the onus is on men to take the lead (that’s what men do) and maintain new ideals of femininity. If you hold women to them they will fall in line or fall away. Either way good for them, and why would you want them around if they don’t share your ideals of femininity anyway.

I expected that someone might start a list of “Feminine Virtues”. I didn’t see one so I’ll start. These are qualities that everyone should have to some extent, but women that wear them well are truly intoxicating.

Feminine Virtues


147 Patrick December 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Great article! I agree with the comment that men who hold themselves to the high standard should never get involved with a woman who neither appreciates a high standard or doesn’t raise her standards….drop those women and move on…”Woman…Woman-up!!

148 Katie December 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Great article and interesting comments… I think a lot of these issues are wisely handled in “Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart” by John Ensor. Yes, it’s a book on dating, but he has some extremely valuable things to say about true masculinity and femininity.

149 Kristin Necessary December 22, 2009 at 6:32 pm

@ Sean F. Glass re: “pick axe swinging women”

Anyone who has ever looked at pictures from or studied the pioneer era knows that women back then – at least in the rugged environment of the frontier – could not afford to be whiny wilting flowers. They rolled up their sleeves and helped build homes, till fields, pick cotton, and bore children without the benefit of painkillers, antibiotics, or anesthesia. As much as I appreciate the more delicate feminine virtues, I think it’s important not to whitewash the conditions that everyone was living in back then, and to note that women’s contributions were (and still are) more than just emotional. Frankly I think toughness and resiliency are just as much feminine virtues as they are masculine, they are just expressed under different circumstances.

For a modern application, I read an article just this past week that discussed the explosion of interest in rock climbing by women. Apparently women make better rock climbers than men because they solve problems and deal with frustration and stress better on a mental and emotional level, and so despite the fact that they are not as strong they often end up reaching the summit more quickly than men.

150 Chemical Erik December 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm

@ Michael J – I’d add Encouragement to your list. A woman who lifts people up when they are down is wonderful. Somehow most young women these days tend to kick people when they’re down.

@Kristin – Most men love when a woman has grace under pressure. You’re clearly one of those ladies who is stepping up to the challenge of at least attempting to meeting womanly virtues. Keep up the good work and spread the word!

151 Pam December 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

@ Lynn:
What a great comment! I very much agree with your points and the eloquence with which you put it is refreshing. Thank you!!

152 parts December 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm

i think the big issue here is disparity of expectations and unclear goals in a relationship.

it’s that running gag that men fear commitment, and are generally looking to fool around for as long as they can get away with, but i’m sure this community can agree that there are definitely women whose priority is the single life, and men whose impetus is to settle down with someone stable, in a house with a white picket fence.

i’ve been on both sides of the equation. i’ve been a settler, i’ve been a swinger. i’ve been a fiancee, i’ve been the other man. and in my experience, the issues mentioned, about gender roles and about ‘sexist’ expectations, are rooted in a misalignment of intentions – a confusion about the future.

if men (and women) can be a bit more honest with themselves about what their intentions are, they can achieve a more amicable result.

all relationships are in a constant state of negotiation. how can you expect to get to a mutually satisfactory conclusion if you don’t even know your own goals going in?

if you’re a man who wants to settle down, and be able to go to a late brunch sunday mornings with someone who likes it when the waiter calls her “Mrs”, then you need to be clear about that not be disappointed at the lady you met in a moshpit last week. if you’re a woman who wants a man who can offer a stable, mature relationship now – you shouldn’t be frustrated at the boy you picked up doing a kegstand at the kappa delta tau party. these feelings of frustration and disappointment shouldn’t be directed at them – they should be directed at yourself for compromising your own relationship goals and integrity just because this boy owned a nice car, or this girl and you had so much in common, or this boy was so nice to you.

the need inside of us to settle down and start a retirement fund with someone, or keep jumping from bed to bed, is deeply ingrained. some combination of genetics, upbringing and environment conditions each of us to expect and want specific things, and it takes a deep change inside to reset these goals. that change rarely comes from meeting someone (though sometimes it comes when you leave someone), so be honest with yourself – be honest about your own intentions for this or that relationship. if you have a want inside for someone who will grow old with you and move down to palm beach, don’t compromise it for that hot mess you met at the bar last night.

153 Dave December 23, 2009 at 1:34 am

@ Mr Miyagi While a healthy sexual relationships and happy relationships are correlated, more often than not the sex it is a RESULT of the happy relationship, not the cause. Sure, in the early parts of a relationship a vigorous sex life can help to foster the bond between two individuals. But unless there is a true bond based on respect and love, the relationship is ultimately doomed. Sex is not a “reward” women give to men who give them what they want. Just as catering to a woman’s every whim is not a “payment” for sex. A relationship based on sex and food? You might as well buy a Big Mac and a Playboy. I guarantee it will be cheaper than any date you take any of your “ideal” women on.

154 mjaybee December 23, 2009 at 3:19 am

If you want to settle down, you should realize the double standard ( the new double standard) applies in spades if you’re getting divorced. As a man, you will be expected in family court to provide financial support and, most likely, live without seeing your children.

No matter how much your wife worked prior to your split, more likely than not, she will not be pushed to go out and find employment the way you will.

I appreciate the soft nostalgia of this site, but the old standards are gone, given the renewed societal and legal vilification of men at every turn.

Men should stay single to stay solvent, and adapt to the times we live in.

155 Gryphon MacThoy December 23, 2009 at 3:21 am

The false dichotomies used to establish what is and is not manly or womanly behaviors keep getting to me. Examples:

Burping the alphabet makes one unwomanly. As though doing so makes one manly? It makes one socially inept, irregardless of gender.

Taking care of the kids is womanly. As though ignoring the kids is manly? No, it is the responsibility of both parents to care for the kids according to their best skills applicable to the task at hand. If a man is good at kissing boo-boos and reading good night stories and a woman is good at helping with algebra and wrestling moves, then so be it. The important factor is shared responsibility.

Shoveling the snow off the driveway is manly. Right, so failing to drive out of ones own driveway during inclement weather is womanly? No. Again, this is a question of sharing duties. Frankly, the physically stronger one in the relationship should do this kind of work when time is an issue, but the weaker one should go do it to get a workout and build a stronger spouse out of themselves. If the man has the piggy flu, the woman better get her ass out there to clear the driveway so her mate can still go to the doctor. Now then, a Manly Man will offer to do it first. But a Real Woman will occasionally give him a break from it, even notwithstanding piggy flu or whatever.

Do I need to go on here?

To answer the core question: What is the Art of Womanliness? I don’t know, but talking about it in falsely dichotic terms just feeds that feeling feminists get about ‘barefoot and preggers.’ Position the qualities of Manliness and Womanliness as polar opposites that Make Sense. Example:

A well dressed man looks confident, strong, and prepared.
A well dressed woman looks confident, beautiful, and graceful.
(There are those who would say a well dressed man could appear graceful, but a Manly Man would prefer Strong to Graceful, would he not?)

A final thought: Perhaps men and women CAN encompass all that is thought well of any adult. The difference is, what impression do you get FIRST and FOREMOST?

156 Kate McKay December 23, 2009 at 3:55 am


I’m afraid you misunderstand the post and reading things into it that aren’t there.

We never said that burping the alphabet and ignoring kids was manly. Rather, the idea is that it is okay for women to expect men to do things, but men are called sexist if they expect women to do things. So if a woman expects a man to be good with kids, that’s fine. But if a man says he’s looking for a nurturing woman, then people say he’s sexist. Or if a woman says a man looks like a slob, that’s okay. But if a man says a woman should take care of herself, than that is sexist. The dichotomies being set up are not between manly things and womanly things, but what is socially acceptable for women and men to expect from each other. As you say, both men and women should strive to do these things, but then it should be okay for men to expect them of women, just as women can expect them of men.

157 Joel Stein December 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

Nice post. I am married to a wonderful woman who totally embraces her femininity in a very authentic way. Yes, it’s traditional, and many of our family members still don’t get it. But there’s a certain freedom to embracing what it means to be fully man, or fully woman.

For what it’s worth, there are signs of improvement. Take Pure Fashion, for example, which teaches its young women to live a life of purity, dignity, grace, and modesty.

158 Chris December 23, 2009 at 10:34 am


I believe that a woman giving herself over to being with a man should be in a way surrendering authority. Equality in the relationship means just that, both are equal, neither partner’s wants or needs are more important than the other’s. The two individuals become part of one team, but no team can thrive without a dutiful leader. For the most part Melissa and I each make our own decisions, consulting the other out of courtesy and a desire for our partner’s input, but when a decision needs to be made for the team and there are conflicting wants or needs then someone has to make the call. That person is the team leader or the “head of the house”. Some will disagree and call it sexist but I believe that person should be the man. If he’s a real man who loves and respects his mate, he’s going to make that call based on what’s best for the team and not necessarily what he wants for himself.

I appreciate some of the comments about not being able to find an American woman with many of the qualities that men want. I had all but decided to stop looking for a partner before I met Melissa. I was convinced that the type of woman I wanted didn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t looking for someone to completely give up their identity and forever be known only as Chris’ wife. I wanted a woman who would trust me and feel secure knowing that when tough decisions had to be made I would step up and do what was best for us. When we first moved from dating to being in a serious relationship, Melissa is the one who first brought this up to me. She told me she wanted a man who would take charge when needed and make the decision for us. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this from a twenty something American woman. My mouth dropped open (literally). It may sound funny but that was the first day I knew for sure that I wanted to marry her. Now keep in mind, she didn’t mean that she didn’t want a voice, just that when the decision was a tough one or something that would drastically affect our lives, she wanted me to make the final call.

The article and many of the comments have good points. I’m adding this mainly because one point I feel has been left out is that you can’t have a complete democracy with only two people. Someone has to have the final authority. Without it, you’re going to have a lot of arguments or you must be so identical in the way you think that you could be twins. Someone usually has this authority even if it goes unstated. I can rarely look at a couple and not be able to tell who’s in charge and I’ve personally never seen a relationship where the woman was in charge and the man seemed content but I’ve seen many relationships where the man was in charge and the woman was content and happy. Referring to the later, I must point out that the men in those relationships are very much the type of men that AoM is trying to help us become.


Bravo to a concise and well written comment, I couldn’t agree with you more. Melissa has mentioned to me before about this conflict between trying to be womanly with her man and her friends. She has also told me that she wouldn’t talk about her desire to be in deference with her girl friends for fear they would try to “liberate” her from it.

159 Pat December 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

mjaybee wrote ¨As a man, you will be expected in family court to provide financial support and, most likely, live without seeing your children.¨

This site is a feel good site that does not reflect the realities of the man-hating government and culture. I do like this site. It is refreshing to see somewhere that honors men, instead of making them look stupid, foolish and or horny So thanks.

Yet the realities of double standards of genders are here to stay at least through this generation. That in family/relationships the man pays and is punished – polite and honorable behavior or not. Specifically, though the man is legally innocent, the government´s divorce court will take his children, 18 years of income, and over half his stuff, while giving him most of the marital debt and an Order of Protection, just in case he grows angry at the new arrangement.

The US´s divorce rate is one of the highest in the wotrld of about 200 counrtries and women initiate divorce about 80% of the divorces here. It´s not if she divorces you it´s when.

Be manly unmarried.

160 Patricia December 23, 2009 at 11:23 am

Interesting article. I’m not sure why the “femine virtues” aren’t “human virtues”

Grace, Creativity, Gentleness, Patience, Kindness

I think both men and women would be better off if they could express the above. My fiance’ and I have non-traditional gender roles at the moment (I work and go to school; he’s at home recovering from a work injury). While James does the majority of the cooking, we split most of the other household chores evenly. I do my best to always have time to listen to him; I take an interest in his interests (even tried joining his billiards team) and we laugh together. We have split duties on the basis of our individual talents, he’s a much better cook; I’m much better with the finances. Even so, I make sure I’m presentable in the home, and enjoy dressing up when we go out together, even if it’s just to the cinema down the street

I think the feminist movement got away from the original intent. The original intent was to tell women we could do anything a man could do… however, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Women are their own harshest critics – how many women get dirty looks if they are stay-at-home moms? How many women on the fast track in careers get dirty looks if they choose to take a few years off to have children? We are told we can have it all, but when we try, other women castigate us. I think this will change for the next generation. My 5yo niece is a girly-girl, *loves* her dresses and her dolls, but also loves her brother’s skateboard and racecars. Her mom (a blacksmith) was disparing over ever understanding her frilly daughter, when I pointed out that this is what the feminists wanted originally – a woman who could be HERSELF – if she wants to wear a dress, fine. If she wants to wear jeans, fine. If she wants to learn how to fix her own car, fine! If she wants to design fashion, fine. We wanted equality to do whatever a man could do, but don’t want to allow women the equality to choose NOT to do what a man could do. I hope the pendulum finds a balance point.

161 Jessica December 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

I really appreciated this article. I’m encouraged to know that there are some guys out there striving to be manly – they seem to be rather lacking where I am. Instead, I know a bunch of frat boys and “nice guys”. The “nice guys” are heading in the right direction, but they are lacking in the self-confidence and leadership qualities necessary in a man. The reason that some girls end up in with the “bad guys” is because they have those qualities. How is a guy that is nice, but somewhat of a push-over, supposed to be the head of the household?
As a 21 year old young woman about to graduate, I can certainly say that we females are having a hard time striving to be feminine as well. I want to get married, have kids, and have family with the traditional gender roles, but until then am pursuing a career that interests me so that I can support myself. I am very wary to voice my views on marriage because of the criticism I often receive. Many people would be appalled to hear that I would be willing to leave my job behind to get married and have kids if/when I found a man I loved.
As a strong-willed female, this site gives me greater hope that there are strong men out there who have wisdom and integrity needed, who could earn my respect and who I would gladly defer to as the head of the house and let make the tough decisions.

162 Ariah December 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm

@Pat – you’re right. But there are women who plan never to get divorced. I’m going to choose my mate very carefully to minimize the risk of him turning out to be incompatible with me and/or an @sshole. If he doesn’t give me a reason to divorce him (as in, abuse, adultery, etc., not “being boring” or something else stupid) I’m not ever going to file for divorce. “Starter marriage” is not in my vocabulary.

The key in avoiding divorce is finding the right person for you, one who takes marriage seriously, and who will strive to be the best possible partner to you, and doing the same yourself.

163 Brett McKay December 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Will posted a great article in the Community that really gets at some of the things we were trying to get at, but better! The author has written an article disparaging man-boys who never want to grow up and find a wife and have a family. Men commented that they weren’t manning up because the women out there provided little incentive to do so-that they were so confusing as to not be worth dealing with. Here’s an excerpt:


“Now, men and women have probably been a mystery to one another since the time human beings were in trees; one reason people developed so many rules around courtship was that they needed some way to bridge the Great Sexual Divide. By the early twentieth century, things had evolved so that in the United States, at any rate, a man knew the following: he was supposed to call for a date; he was supposed to pick up his date; he was supposed to take his date out, say, to a dance, a movie, or an ice-cream joint; if the date went well, he was supposed to call for another one; and at some point, if the relationship seemed charged enough—or if the woman got pregnant—he was supposed to ask her to marry him. Sure, these rules could end in a midlife crisis and an unhealthy fondness for gin, but their advantage was that anyone with an emotional IQ over 70 could follow them.

Today, though, there is no standard scenario for meeting and mating, or even relating. For one thing, men face a situation—and I’m not exaggerating here—new to human history. Never before have men wooed women who are, at least theoretically, their equals—socially, professionally, and sexually.

By the time men reach their twenties, they have years of experience with women as equal competitors in school, on soccer fields, and even in bed. Small wonder if they initially assume that the women they meet are after the same things they are: financial independence, career success, toned triceps, and sex.

But then, when an SYM walks into a bar and sees an attractive woman, it turns out to be nothing like that. The woman may be hoping for a hookup, but she may also be looking for a husband, a co-parent, a sperm donor, a relationship, a threesome, or a temporary place to live. She may want one thing in November and another by Christmas. “I’ve gone through phases in my life where I bounce between serial monogamy, Very Serious Relationships and extremely casual sex,” writes Megan Carpentier on Jezebel, a popular website for young women. “I’ve slept next to guys on the first date, had sex on the first date, allowed no more than a cheek kiss, dispensed with the date-concept altogether after kissing the guy on the way to his car, fucked a couple of close friends and, more rarely, slept with a guy I didn’t care if I ever saw again.” Okay, wonders the ordinary guy with only middling psychic powers, which is it tonight?

In fact, young men face a bewildering multiplicity of female expectations and desire. Some women are comfortable asking, “What’s your name again?” when they look across the pillow in the morning. But plenty of others are looking for Mr. Darcy. In her interviews with 100 unmarried, college-educated young men and women, Jillian Straus, author of Unhooked Generation, discovered that a lot of women had “personal scripts”—explicit ideas about how a guy should act, such as walking his date home or helping her on with her coat. Straus describes a 26-year-old journalist named Lisa fixed up for a date with a 29-year-old social worker. When he arrives at her door, she’s delighted to see that he’s as good-looking as advertised. But when they walk to his car, he makes his first mistake: he fails to open the car door for her. Mistake Number Two comes a moment later: “So, what would you like to do?” he asks. “Her idea of a date is that the man plans the evening and takes the woman out,” Straus explains. But how was the hapless social worker supposed to know that? In fact, Doesn’t-Open-the-Car-Door Guy might well have been chewed out by a female colleague for reaching for the office door the previous week.

The cultural muddle is at its greatest when the dinner check arrives. The question of who grabs it is a subject of endless discussion on the hundreds of Internet dating sites. The general consensus among women is that a guy should pay on a first date: they see it as a way for him to demonstrate interest. Many men agree, but others find the presumption confusing. Aren’t the sexes equal? In fact, at this stage in their lives, women may well be in a better position to pick up the tab: according to a 2005 study by Queens College demographer Andrew Beveridge, college-educated women working full-time are earning more than their male counterparts in a number of cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis.

Sure, girls can—and do—ask guys out for dinner and pick up the check without missing a beat. But that doesn’t clarify matters, men complain. Women can take a Chinese-menu approach to gender roles. They can be all “Let me pay for the movie tickets” on Friday night and “A single rose? That’s it?” on Valentine’s Day. This isn’t equality, say the male-contents; it’s a ratification of female privilege and, worse, caprice. “Women seemingly have decided that they want it all (and deserve it, too),” Kevin from Ann Arbor writes. “They want to compete equally, and have the privileges of their mother’s generation. They want the executive position, AND the ability to stay home with children and come back into the workplace at or beyond the position at which they left. They want the bad boy and the metrosexual.”

164 Brett McKay December 23, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Hugo, you are welcome to comment if you’d like to follow our comment policy. Until then, I’ll keep deleting your comments.

165 Adrienne December 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Since you addressed me directly Chris, I feel I should respond. I’m pretty sure we will have to agree to disagree though, as I will never be someone who believes in ridiculous ideas like that in marriage the woman should surrender authority to the man. I don’t need someone to take charge of me and make decisions for me ever, I am not a child and find no comfort in being treated like one.

Thats not to say in a relationship there shouldn’t ever be someone who has the final say, I personally think that in most relationships there is a dominant decision-maker though not always. So far, my husband and I have always come to agreements on everything and I can’t imagine any situation where one of us would have to put their foot down with the other. If it DID come to that I believe it would be because of circumstance so the “dominant” player would likely depend on the situation. I hope we maintain that because I will never be the subservient type, but I have no desire to make decisions for my husband or take control in that sense either. I recognize it’s probably going to be more difficult than if one of us was more dominant than the other, but I have faith that we can truly remain partners.

Many will read what I am saying and assume I just want to be the boss and don’t want to admit it. Trust me there is nothing more off-putting to me than a man who needs me to figure out everything for him, except maybe a man who believes I need or want him to figure it out for me.

A quote from you:

“That person is the team leader or the “head of the house”. Some will disagree and call it sexist but I believe that person should be the man.”

Why should it be the man? Do you honestly believe that a penis makes you more capable of decision-making? Sorry but it does not, and I think being honest we both know that symbolically the man has been the head of the household throughout history, but who has had real control of the family and decisions? I doubt its always the woman, but I bet its more often (and even maybe most often) than you might be comfortable admitting.

“If he’s a real man who loves and respects his mate, he’s going to make that call based on what’s best for the team and not necessarily what he wants for himself.”

How could these same statements not apply to the woman if she is decision maker? You are just trying to apply an arbitrary rule based on how you and your wife are. Clearly you are a dominating personality, and she is not. It suits the two of you to have a relationship where you are the one in control, though as you say you respect and value her opinion. Because of the way you work, it should be YOU who is the decision maker in YOUR relationships, that does not mean that suits everyone. The very same situation could apply to a couple in opposites.

Basically, I believe you are trying to make generalizations that just don’t universally apply the way you would like. I think its important that people find someone to be with who suits them, who they can strike a balance with that works for them.

166 Ariah December 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

@Kate McKay

I’m a 25 year old woman who comes to this site rather than visiting Jezebel or watching The View because I detest the sites and shows that are “for women.” They are not “for women.” They are for obnoxious women. If these women would stop griping about patriarchy and instead learn how to escape a sinking car (I loved that article!) maybe they would chill out a little bit. I’ve been searching for a women’s blog/magazine that I can enjoy but I haven’t found anything that isn’t overly “snarky” and “fluffy,” as you put it. Please create theartofwomanliness.com (or whatever you want to call it)! We need a rational voice in the discussion re: what it means to be a woman!

167 Ariah December 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm


“I hope we maintain that because I will never be the subservient type, but I have no desire to make decisions for my husband or take control in that sense either. I recognize it’s probably going to be more difficult than if one of us was more dominant than the other, but I have faith that we can truly remain partners.”

Thank you for that response! Chris’s post bothered me so much because he doesn’t seem to realize that an unequal relationship is a problem waiting to happen!


I suggest working to discover why you decided prior to meeting your wife that you would never trust a woman to make decisions for you and why you feel all decisions must be approved by you. The way you have things set up now, disagreements either result in 1) a compromise you can live with, or 2) a decision you make. It sounds like you have some insecurity/control issues. I’m not saying that to be mean – people have issues. It happens. The important thing is to figure them out and not let them control you, or make you or other people unhappy. Speaking of which, why, when things get tough, does your woman want someone else to take care of her? She should get into counseling ASAP to discover why she doesn’t trust herself enough to make good decisions.

168 A.T. Nelson December 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Brett and Kate, this is one of the best articles you’ve ever written. And your thoughtful responses via comment are an excellent continuation and clarification of the issues you have addressed. Suffice it to say that you, more than anyone else, have helped me navigate the thorny issues of “manliness” and “womanliness” in my own relationships. Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you are doing.

169 Adrienne December 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Dave said:

“Finally, and most controversially, a man should also expect a woman he is with to be secure enough around him and herself to take the secondary role in the relationship. If both partners are constantly battling each other for control, the relationship will be unhappy and ultimately doomed. This is not to say that the man should ever act in a manner which would disrespect his woman, just that for a MAN to be truly happy in his relationship, he needs to feel that he is in control. On the flip side of this, a WOMAN should not submit to any man until he has proved himself worthy to be the MAN in her life.”

I do not get this. Why does anyone have to take a secondary role at all? If someone must be the dominant person in a relationship why does it have to be the man? I am very secure in myself and my relationship, that is why I do not feel it is at all appropriate for me to be “secondary” and would never be with a man who derived his self confidence from his power over anyone, let alone me. I find the very idea that any man needs to feel “in control” of someone else to be truly happy in his relationship to be frankly pathetic, and insulting to men. If you are a strong, secure person you should not need to be controlling anyone.

Ladies, please have enough respect for yourself and your worth as a human being not to “submit” yourself to anyone, not in the sense Dave means. You do not have to become someones sidekick, or lesser-half, or surrender authority over yourself in order to be a supportive, nurturing, loving wife. It seems there are many men here who get it, but sadly still a large number of them that use chauvinism (while claiming they are not chauvinistic) as an excuse to rationalize their personal need for control in relationships.

My man is strong and capable, physically and mentally. That is why he can be with a strong woman such as myself, without feeling the need to assume some kind of “I wear the pants around here” authority. A real manly man doesn’t require being dominant in a relationship as he would be secure enough to be with an equal.

170 Sarah December 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm

**Excellent** article and interesting posts!

It only makes sense for women to step up to the plate and assume the responsibility to better themselves if they see their men really making the concerted effort to change and become more themselves; more manly! I can only speak from my own experiences, and I know my hubz and I are really taken with the ideals of masculinity and femininity.

Femininity to me is about the little things that matter to my huband! These things might not be for everyone…every woman out there has to really listen to the person they love, and find out what speaks to the other’s heart…and then do that!! For my hubby it’s dropping (most of) what I’m doing and meeting him at the door with a kiss, and encouraging his attempts at being more manly (even if they fail miserably), and overlooking or making the consequences of stupid mistakes into adventures, and generally helping him to know that he is sincerely loved and valued in his thoughts and ideas. I think the woman who constantly berates her man is slicing her own arms off with a samurai sword!! Cutting a man down at the knees only succeeds in taking his woman, you, out as well. I find that my husband goes out of his way to figure out the things that speak to my heart, to surprise me in little and big ways, and generally support and love me in any way he knows how. He’s the BEST!

I really feel that the media has played a huge role in continuing the attitude of demeaning pigs…oops, I mean men and creating this double-standard “sexism”! Just watch any episode of Friends or Everybody loves Raymond and you’ll find big time boy-wusses, afraid of their master-puppeteer women…and boy do they DANCE when their women tell them to!! And I’m totally sick of it!! That disgust for everything male is present in commercials, tv shows, movies, news even…and the flip side of it is the “manly man” who’s machoistic, burps the alphabet and is addicted to porn! And we wonder where the stereotypes are coming from?

The ideals of masculinity and femininity can be enigmatic, and all I can say is that I detect them in love and relationships. I think we assert our manliness and womanliness in doing what is required in the moment for those we love, whether that be shovelling the driveway, doing the laundry or being whatever the other needs. Love requires all of us, all the time.

171 Adam December 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm


172 ZeCarlos December 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Dear friends,

This is the first time I comment on this website. My girlfriend Tracy suggested it. Great site. What I think it is really funny is that it seems that whenever anybody got low scores in their test (all took it in their mind, ALL) became all of the sudden very passionate in their responses. It is truly amazing the spirit of ya’lls (I’m from Texas) words amount reflected your conscious. Love from Houston!!

173 Paul MacKay December 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm

@Ariah – I would be very interested to see some of the content for a “Art of Womanliness” website. Have any ideas?

@Brett – Thanks for including the article on “Darwinist Dating”. It’s reassuring to know that there are others out there who are confused by all of this.

174 Kate McKay December 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm


Wow! Best. Comment. Ever.

Seriously, you nailed it and said it better than I ever could have. I especially love your last paragraph:

“The ideals of masculinity and femininity can be enigmatic, and all I can say is that I detect them in love and relationships. I think we assert our manliness and womanliness in doing what is required in the moment for those we love, whether that be shovelling the driveway, doing the laundry or being whatever the other needs. Love requires all of us, all the time.”

Just awesome. Thanks so much.

175 Evan December 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

This is a great article and I love the site! I like many others felt that finding a REAL woman in the U.S. was going to be practically impossible, but low and behold I found a wonderful woman who is intelligent, capable but also embraces her femininity and desires to fulfill her traditional role as mother (stay at home mom as well). She wants a man who embraces his role as provider/protector. A man who will provide for her and their children, who will be a good dad, respect her and also be the leader of the household. In order for this to happen a woman must find a man who worthy (i.e. not being a tyrant, who listens and considers her etc.). A real man should put his family first, knowing that their well-being is his primary duty in life.

Division of labor is important. No society can exist if everyone is a CEO, manager, or manual laborer. It just isn’t logical. A relationship is the same way. Just as has been pointed out before there is almost always a more dominant person in a relationship. It is completely natural. And NORMALLY the more dominant one is the male. This is not because of some “evil society that mistreats women” but because men and women are NATURALLY different. Psychologically we are different. This doesn’t mean one is superior to another but just what I stated. Different. If we were 100% equal in all things then men would be able give birth, we would have all the same natural interests (or likelihoods of being interested in whatever), hell why even have two sexes? We would just be one sex who can perform either duty.
So we are naturally different and different things appeal to us. So instead of trying to impose an egalitarian, false, feel good theory of total equality, my girlfriend and I embrace our natural roles with complete respect and consideration being showed to the other. The result in my relationship and those that I have seen that are similar are a much higher rate of happiness when compared to the modern model relationship.
I could go on and on but I think I will just make a blog post about it.

It’s important to remember that there are always exceptions. There are and always have been situations where the woman fulfills many of the traditionally male roles. This is fine on a small scale, as I mentioned, it happens naturally. The problem arises when the culture tries to reject the (general) natural roles of the genders. We have all sorts of gender confusion (not speaking of sexual orientation) as has been mentioned by others in what is expected on women and men.

Thanks for hearing me out, keep up the great work! I linked to this on facebook to show my support.

176 Elise December 24, 2009 at 1:14 am

@ Ariah and Adrienne — thank you for your responses to people talking about surrendering and submitting. Now I don’t have to respond to them! I want a partner, not a leader. I have no desire whatsoever either to control someone else or to be controlled, and I don’t think that you need rigidly defined roles to have a mutually loving, supportive relationship. It is insulting to me to submit or surrender my judgment to someone else because it is asking me to be less than I am. It’s not really good for the other person, either, because they get less of me than I could be.
I just want to make it clear that I’m not bashing that kind of relationship. If you’ve found someone compatible, and you’re both happy, good for you.

Re: darwinist dating article.
I think a key point that has gotten lost is that men and women are supposed to be on the same side. (But not only with the man as leader, either!) It’s not a game. You’re not playing against each other. And the point is not to get as much stuff as you can from the other person.
Some of the confusion is always going to remain because people don’t all want the same things. The key is knowing what you want, and getting to know what the other person wants well enough to find out if you’re compatible, which requires that people can somehow communicate what it is that they want/need. A shared ideal of marriage and pre-defined gender roles is one way to start that communication. (men are supposed to x,y,z while women are supposed to a,b,c, etc) But, I don’t like having rigid dichotomies and expectations because it misses people as individuals. No one definition is ever going to include everyone. But, it isn’t really required, if you can treat people as individuals, and be open enough with another person to create something that is mutually beneficial for both of you. Just basic courtesy, respect, and generally caring about the other person instead of trying to get stuff all the time would go a long way.

177 Frank December 24, 2009 at 1:59 am

I have to say, following this conversation has been quite humorous. Many of the women who have commented and disagreed with the article are exactly who the article is addressing! They read this website and I imagine they like it or are at least not offended by it. But the whole website is based around the idea that there are generalizations and standards you can expect of all men. But if you turn it around and say the same thing about women, then women say, no, no everyone should be treated as an individual! Do they not see that they are the embodiment of the double standard that’s being addressed here?

A society that bends everything for the exception instead of the rule is bound for failure. A society that acknowledges gender differences but refuses to have any rules or expectations based on those differences is a confused, chaotic and unhappy society. Can these smart women think of any other instances in life where you know something, but refuse to act on that knowledge?

Let’s take smoking. Most people who smoke get cancer. Some people who smoke their whole lives, never do. Should the Surgeon General not make recommendations and standards around the rule that smoking causes cancer? Of course not. Even if there are exceptions, the best thing to do is establish a standard based on the majority. If individuals still want to smoke, fine. But everyone knows the score.

Men and women have different brains and different hormones. We’re different. We can ignore our biology all we want, but doing so will only bring about ridiculous and confused relations between the sexes. We’re animals designed for reproducing our species. Deal with it.

178 Jay December 24, 2009 at 3:51 am

Please check your WP-pagination: I only see a ‘previous comments’, no ‘newer comments’ link (in IE 7.0) – confusing, as you think you’re on the last page all the time…

179 Sarah December 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

Thanks Kate *blush*
I’d be very interested in an “Art of Womanliness” site as well… :)

180 Terri December 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

The cry for equality is used to complain, to get what is desired. For over 10,000 years European and Asian men have demonstrated leadership and invention in government, business, academics, art, sciences, and litrature. To assume over this time with over 500 countries with 10 billion peoples born and die, then blame it on oppression, is dishonerst. Passing laws in the work place and family that punish men, that western countries have now, will certainly never change what is. Equlitity can be managed like the weather.

Be warned that this generation image men as violent, criminal, gay, sexed-up, and or stupid. This is not a manly man.

In the mean time to stay out of the cross hairs of affirmative action, today´s manly man will remain single, act wisely, with love, be just, good, forgiving, and truthful.

181 Courtney December 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

I really enjoy this blog, and I liked this post a lot. It raises good questions for married couples.

My husband also reads this sometimes, although I typically share it with him when I think it might be something he would like to read. Truly, I read the site for myself.

No, no–I’m not trying to become manly or to usurp the authority in the relationship. I’m not overly concerned about the quality of my wristwatch (though I loved that post). It’s just that I think there are a lot of universally relevant topics here. I want to be more authentic, and overall a better, more responsible person. While the language doesn’t always resonate with me, if I rephrase the key points, I find that they really encompass the art of humanity.

Look sharp. Take responsibility. Listen, love, and care for each other.

Don’t act like a bimbo.

Thanks for the blog (and the book! My husband is going to be happily surprised this holiday season). :)

182 Tristan Berg December 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Grace. I think true womanliness begins with grace, forgiveness and undying respect for a man who is being a man. I’m not talking about being a door mat for every joker out there that really has no idea what it is to be a man, such men shouldn’t even be considered for relationships. The difference between a woman who is happy in marriage and a bitter nagging woman bent on the destruction of a marriage is grace. No one is perfect, and a woman that can cover a man’s mistakes and shortcomings in grace is a real gem.

183 Simone December 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Brave post and excellent discussion. I love it!

Just my thoughts… I’m a tattooed goth chick and gun enthusiast that writes erotica novels for a living, but I’m also a dedicated wife, mother of 2, and a homemaker that loves to cook, garden, keep a clean/organized home, and rush to the door and kiss my husband when he comes home from a hard day at work. I think a lot of women use feminism as an excuse to bleed men emotionally/financially dry and it is disgustingly wrong. I am a strong feminine woman with bold ideas, and I need a strong mentally masculine man to complement and balance me, not some whipped head-tucked man-boy that cowers whenever I have a girl tantrum. Luckily I found such a man and can’t imagine living without him. If he gets angry I comfort him and help find a solution, and if I have a mommy meltdown he talks me off the proverbial ledge. Above all else, no matter what happens, we RESPECT each other, and you can’t have a happy healthy relationship without it. Period.

Feminism was a war that leveled the entire nation of masculinity in order to kill chauvinism. I believe resources like this blog are excellent for rebuilding the admirable aspects of manliness, while omitting the bad. But this cannot work without effort from the former conquerors (females), and that means women who use the feminist war as an excuse to mentally abuse, insult, and demean the ‘enemy’ forever, are thwarting the recovery effort. A true rebuilding cannot be completed in this post-war environment unless women know their place, as well as men. I think a female version of this website would be a great addition.

184 Jules December 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Is something wrong with the site? I can only see up to the last 50 comments, but the ticker says there are 190.

185 Victoria December 25, 2009 at 12:40 am

I found this site when a reader of this website found mine because they were looking for a womans equivalent. I am so glad to be here! I have been pondering what has happened to women for a long time!! I can’t believe what this “liberation” has done to society.

I think I have an interesting perspective on womaness, because I was born in America to foreign parents and travel a lot. I know women from a lot of different places and we talk. American women tend to be the leaders in demanding their husbands are their equals, as being told by many commenters. While I see women from Medeteranian/Middle Eastern/Russian culture being more about family and home. I know a lot of American women torn between staying at home or working… They tend to think if they stay at home they are GIVING something up and if they WORK they are miserable because how can they juggle everything. Because lets face it, children want their mothers. Mothers are nurturing, caring, they kiss booboo;s and make them better, not daddys. Oh, and another thing, American women work because they want ALL the comforts – a big house, a nice car, nice clothes etc… Where as I think foreign women, can make ends meet better. They can take a cheap $20 dress and wear it with pride so that they can stay home with their kids. Most foreign women would do with less and have a quality home life.

I think this is sooo true. Women who raise there own kids have more confident and happy children. American society is falling apart because kids feel entitled to everything, and money can buy anything in their parents minds. Kids need their parents to be parents. Their moms to be moms and dads to be dads. THIS DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I know there is such a thing as house dads now a days, and I dont think it makes up for a mom. I once worked with a girl whose mother worked out of the home and father was the primary care giver and the little girl, burped and farted and thought it was funny. She was rough, whiney, and rude. I am sure if she had her mother she would have been different.

Look at american society? Don’t you notice those of past generations to be more simple and more satisfied with life? More caring with better manners? These days there are more train wrecks. More violence, more crime and more egoist attitudes.

Just a couple days ago, I walked in to a labroatory to get my blood drawn. When I walked in the waiting room was packed not an empty seat. There were older people, younger people, and even a 2 year old with her own chair. I thought it was extremely sad that when I walked in, a very pregnant lady of 7 months, the person who got up to offer me a seat was an older woman well about the age of 70, she had a freaking walker!!! But sat there the 2 year old, her mother didn’t even notice, very very rude. If that was my mother, I would have immediately been swept into my mothers lap and my seat would have been offered to the pregnant woman. WHat the heck is wrong with manners these days? Ofcourse, I didn’t take the seat but I am so surprised no one thought that our exchange was at all interesting. People are oblivious these days.

I am so saddened by all of this, and tehre for have started my own equivalent of AOM called, http://www.beingalady.com , its really new, but I am on a mission, a mission to help women remember what it is to be a lady.


186 William December 25, 2009 at 3:51 am

What I want from a woman is the following, Assuming that she wants me to be a traditional man, and she wants to be my wife, and she wants to raise a family with me:
Support. Mutual support and nurturing. Some might call it mothering.
Honest opinions and constructive criticism. In other words, if you have something to say, a snyde comment does NO good to anyone. Delivery means everything, and both lack of delivery and mean-spirited delivery are bad for both people.
A good work ethic. There’s lots of work to do for both sexes, at home, at work, and towards a good marriage.
An interest in the relationship over individual, selfish goals.
An interest in invidiual goals, tempered with, and made to work with the relationship.

There is a lot that I’m still discovering I want from a woman, and my current love interest is showing me how many things the women from my past were missing.

The best way I can summarize the problems we see are that men and women aren’t made aware of the problems with their behaviour.
Men aren’t called on acting like lazy, irresponsible chumps, and women aren’t called on being catty and using convenient idea from a movement that once made a big difference to the lives of women.
Men aren’t called on complaining about being married and bemoaning being bachelors, and women aren’t insulted back when [those that do] insult half the population.

187 Funny December 26, 2009 at 5:43 am

It really is funny that some women get all up in arms about this. The truth scares people. And this site speaks (largely) of the natural relationship between man and woman. Almost all women feel and naturally want a Real man. It is only our backwards culture that brainwashes them (and us) otherwise.

So keep laughing ladies, you will find your lives incomplete, as though something major is missing (because it is). Hearing things that resonate with the truth but shatter your whole world outlook is scary. Denial is the first reaction. My soon to be wife understands this and together we try to cleanse ourselves from the filth that is modern American “culture.” I let her be a woman and she lets me be a man. She keeps telling me how natural it all feels, even though our degenerate modern culture says otherwise. She has found freedom in embracing her femininity as I have in embracing my masculinity. It really is liberating (contrary to popular belief).

So the next time you find yourself admiring a manly man instead of chastising yourself from being attracted to him (or his manliness) and become filled with self-hate and hatred of men, why don’t you try acting vulnerable or feminine. You might find the results are better than the usual complaining with your girlfriend who always agrees with you or taking it out on your castrated boyfriend.

188 BSullivan December 26, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I feel a little awkward commenting, since, at the ripe old age of 31 and having been married for nearly 10 years, I feel old and experienced compared to many of those commenting.

However, my husband pointed out this blog post and I loved it, but several of the comments have disturbed me for two main reasons, but first-

Ariah questioned why Chris’ wife felt comfortable with allowing him to make the “tough decisions” and offered advice that she seek counseling for insecurity issues.
Speaking of which, why, when things get tough, does your woman want someone else to take care of her? She should get into counseling ASAP to discover why she doesn’t trust herself enough to make good decisions.

I do not have issues with any of Chris’ comments, btw. I tend to defer to my husband on both big and small issues. And aside from not being able to make small decisions (I get overwhelmed very easily, I don’t like the cereal aisle in the grocery store, too many choices), but I don’t feel the need to have control over those big decisions. I state my case, I state my desires, I state what I feel would be the best choice and why, but I trust HIM to make, not only the best but the right decision for our family. Not because I don’t trust myself, of course I can make the decision, but when it’s a decision that effects more than just me (and in a marriage, it ALWAYS does) then only one person has to/should make that decision. Your question is why should it be the husband, well why should it be the wife? Those of you who are so unwilling to allow yourselves to “submit” or “surrender” to your husbands, spouses, significant others, and then question our need for counseling, perhaps you should look at your marriage/relationship and ask yourself how much you really trust your significant other.

1) I believe Adrienne asked why anyone in the relationship had to be secondary. The answer is sometime it’s necessary, and it’s called sacrifice, which is exactly what a true marriage is all about. Sacrifice is the basis of every great, long-lasting marriage. There are times when it is necessary for a husband/man to take a secondary role to his wife/woman and vice-versa.
Why does anyone have to take a secondary role at all? If someone must be the dominant person in a relationship why does it have to be the man? I am very secure in myself and my relationship, that is why I do not feel it is at all appropriate for me to be “secondary” and would never be with a man who derived his self confidence from his power over anyone, let alone me.
To believe that a marriage can last indefinitely without any form of sacrifice (thereby giving up part of yourself, including power and control, at a specific time for the good of someone else) means you’re missing the point of what a marriage actually is. Sure, two people can be equal partners in all things, but that’s not a marriage. That’s a legal contract between two autonomous individuals. And it is equally as insulting for those of us who entered to a marriage covenant with our spouses to have them compared similarly. My hope and prayer is this will never happen – however my fear is that while you are secure in yourself (first) and in your relationship (second), the first time that a major life-altering decision has to be made where you disagree with your husband on the correct choice of action and you either both try to choose different actions or he makes a choice that you don’t agree with, your relationship will not withstand the consequences.

2) For both men and women, “LOVE” is a verb. Love may be used as a word to describe some feelings, but ultimately love is a verb. Love is my husband doing most of the laundry, because at 34 weeks pregnant with child number 4, I physically cannot get the laundry up and down the stairs. Love is my husband doing most of the cooking, not because I can’t, but because he likes to cook and he’s more adventurous with recipes than I am. Love is me brushing off his car on a snowy morning before work, after brushing off mine, even though I’m already late for work. Love is picking up his pants from around the house, and getting down on my hands and knees (yes at 7 months pregnant) to scrub the kitchen and dining room floors. Love is him doing the dishes for after most meals, mostly because he likes the solitude of listening to podcasts and drowning at the noise of three other children for 30 minutes. Love is me signing off to go do the breakfast dishes this morning, because he made a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast for the family and I sent him out shopping for new dress clothes which he sorely needs and has been wanting to get for a while.

Great Post!

189 Emily December 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I think there is already a movement towards “womanliness”. One need look no further than the many flourishing craft and lifestyle blogs which focus on homemade food, decorating and dressing well on a budget, and (in some cases) sane and loving childrearing. Most of these blogs are run by stay at home mothers, and their readership is primarily female. There are also dozens of books about elegance, style, and entertaining that have cropped up in the last few years, many of which have become quite popular. I certainly read them.

190 Helen December 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Kate McKay December 23, 2009 at 3:55 am:

I’m afraid you misunderstand the post and reading things into it that aren’t there…We never said that burping the alphabet and ignoring kids was manly.

Oh, but you did.

Could we perhaps say that equality shouldn’t mean embracing and outdoing men in things that were traditionally considered masculine? That making out with other chicks for attention and lifting your shirt for beads and getting smashed and burping the alphabet and dressing in sweatsuits really has very little to do with being “liberated?”

You might start quibbling about the difference between “manly” and “things that were traditionally considered masculine”, but the inference in the paragraph above is clear.

As a non-American, I have no idea what “lifting your shirt for beads” means. You have some strange customs.

191 Marilyn December 26, 2009 at 7:16 pm

“So keep laughing ladies, you will find your lives incomplete, as though something major is missing (because it is).”

Yes, indeed, it will be missing a very clueless man. Keep dreaming that all that needs to happen is a “return” to a more chivalrous society. Talk about denial. These are not Arthurian times, and you’re going to have to do better than open my door at a restaurant. We need a lot of doors open – to opportunity, to true equality, to financial security, to safety from “natural” instincts. Why don’t you show some real manners and stop trying to turn women into Stepford wives, buddy.

192 N. December 26, 2009 at 7:27 pm

It shouldn’t just be about being manly or feminine, but about a relatively even division of roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that men are taking to looking sharp (what girl isn’t crazy about a sharp dressed man?) and like being a part of the female movement to do the same. At the same time, I’ve grown tired of hearing my friends, female family members, or otherwise complain about men in the context of their lofty expectations. I never tire of reminding friends who preach that “men are pigs” that women are the same. However, I think the best way to embrace the ever changing standards of “gender equality” is not to define certain things as manly or feminine, but rather let members of a relationship embrace roles equally and as is fitting to their lifestyle. For example, in my relationship he cooks, I clean. This works well with the fact that I can eat and burn almost anything while he is a much more picky eater and loves to cook; and that I habitually clean to pass time and become easily frusterated by clutter while he is perfectly capable of maneuvering through the obstacle coarse that is his bedroom floor.
The part that frusterates me the most about this double standard is the fact that if I think reasonably in terms of what I contribute and what he contributes I am content, but as soon as I fall into thinking through that double standard (that he should always be doing more because he is a man and that I am not obligated to because I am a woman and that would be sexist) I begin to think there’s something wrong.

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