“Where are all the good men?” It’s a lament that echoes down the phone lines between girlfriends at one a.m. after a failed first date, and on every lonely girl’s online dating profile. A good man has become an endangered species, or so it may seem to single, hetero women.. Not so long ago, I encountered — and subsequently captured — a good man. I felt relieved, as though I had been searching high and low and finally found the last good man in the wild. I could leave behind the meat market that is the singles’ bar; the promising mirage that is the online dating world. But as I continue to get to know my particular man better, I’ve learned that good men are a project and have been reminded of something very important about men AND women…
All people are good some of the time
Some people are good most of the time.
Most people are good some of the time.
No person is good all of the time.
So the myth of the Good Man isn’t a myth because they are extinct or they’ve all been captured. It’s a myth because not one of us is perfect or infallible, making the definition of what makes a man (or anybody) “good” a subjective thing.
The Good Men Project Knows
That’s why the writers and founders of the Good Men Project set out to begin a conversation on what it means to be a good man. The Good Men Project is a place where approximately three million viewers visit everyday to read about sex, fatherhood, ethics and other topics in the realm of enlightened masculinity. It’s important for women to join the conversation on what makes a good man for the same reason that it’s important for men to participate in feminism (which the Good Men Project has recently addressed here and here). It is not just important, but critical, not to fall into the trap of judging a man’s (or a woman’s) “good-ness” based solely on how they are viewed by the opposite sex. The “Good Man” myth of the perfect man as judged by the single heterosexual woman doesn’t take into account the many facets that a man would use himself to measure his goodness.
For those searching for a Good Man, adjust your sights and your vocabulary, and start searching for the man who is good for you. It’s not settling. It’s an adjustment of expectations which actually makes the relationship much more realistic — he’s good in the ways you need, and that is enough to outweigh the “bad.” However, even if the partnership isn’t “good”, that doesn’t mean the man is not good. Every man can be a Good Man in the context of the right relationship. It takes a certain amount of maturity and foresight to see the potential in a person and a relationship. And in a good relationship, the man (and hopefully the woman, too) would be valued for his own merits – his values, personality, achievements and goals – whether they relate to the partner or not.
In my marriage and my daily life, I strive to be self-aware and work to improve where I need to for my own sake, and it equally benefits the good man in my life – my husband. I’m counting on him to do the same… to be a Good Man for me and our family, but also in his own right, because fulfilling his ideal as a good husband, father, brother, son and citizen benefits everyone.
by Emma Lamson Edirisinghe
Happy Father’s Day to all the Good Fathers in the world.
And to the Good Men in our lives, Burgundy Girl loves you.