EG: Response to “Teen Girls Define “A Real Man””

“Lori Hainline & Rebecca Chandler co-authored this list at the respective ages of 19 and 17. Their closing comment: This list is not exhaustive and men like this do exist!”

Well, that’s a great start. Having (presumably) unmarried teen girls describe what a real man is. As opposed to married women or actual men. That said, I do agree with them that men like this do exist. I’ve gone to church and school with men like this, problem is the girls aren’t dating them! So what do they say?

“…values and carefully handles the scriptures. (2 Timothy 2:15)”

“Carefully handles”? Does that mean, “doesn’t throw his Bible around” or “doesn’t interpret Scripture in a way I don’t like”?

“…isn’t embarrassed to worship God and pray in a group setting. (Mark 8:38)”

A real man has to be extroverted and sinless. These girls probably wouldn’t like a man who actually prays out loud about his struggles.

“…takes leadership in a self-sacrificing way. (Ephesians 5:25-28)

Oh, yay! The self-sacrificial leadership pops up in the third set of descriptors. Bowing to the woman’s desires and mutual submission are implied. Because good leadership is naturally self-sacrificial, only people who have never led don’t know that. They just assume being a leader is awesome and means you get to sit back and relax, when in reality you have a Sword of Damocles over your head. When you are the leader, if stuff goes wrong, it is automatically your fault and you have to fix it. Not cushy at all.

“…not only respects but appreciates a young lady’s purity and innocence. In our culture innocence isn’t retained by accident. (2 Corinthians 11:2-3)

…values his purity as much as he values a young lady’s purity. He is not ashamed to live and act differently from the world in order to guard himself. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Ecclesiastes 7:26)

…can look a girl straight in the eye without communicating any impurity. (Proverbs 20:11)”

The first one is potentially dangerous but better than I’ve seen it phrased elsewhere.  The second one is good if living that way didn’t automatically turn women off, a man announcing he’s a virgin has never dropped any panties among young women. The third one is impossible because that depends entirely on the interpretation of the girl. If she decides he’s making bedroom eyes at her, he might as well be. Sexual harassment is a matter of the opinion of the person on the (perceived) receiving end.

“…has no desire to be gross in order to impress other men. He doesn’t burp, swear, or tell disgusting stories. (Proverbs 13:5, Ephesians 5:4)

Really? He doesn’t burp? Last time I checked that was a natural body process. If they suggested being discreet or saying “excuse me” afterwards, fine, but “doesn’t”? Good luck ladies. Not swearing I can see, there is an actual biblical precedent for that. Also, the rudeness of burping depends upon culture. In some cultures it is a compliment. Whether a story is disgusting or not is a matter of opinion. I think a story about someone getting a face full of horse…hocky is funny as heck. To others it is super gross. NSR has a lot of stories that are gross, but these are stories he has collected organically by living his life. He didn’t make them up for the sake of being gross or impressing others. They are the stories he has. Men should not be seen as terrible men just because their life has brought them gross or awful stories and they choose to laugh at them instead of shrink away.

“…is pleasant and expresses joy rather than feeling that it’s masculine to be sullen. (Proverbs 21:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:16)

…can accept correction (Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 29:1)”

Real men have a “pleasant” personality, apparently. It’s not like some men are just more reserved because that is the way God made them, or that God made men less emotionally expressive than women overall. This is funny because later on they say a real man should be able to handle life’s hurdles logically. He also has to be able to accept correction…from his prospective wife or women in general. Or feminism embracing pastors.

“…expresses himself with intelligent words rather than using “street talk”. (Proverbs 17:20, Titus 2:6-8, 1 Peter 4:11, Ephesians 4:29)”

“Real men” own a thesaurus. Not to say I’m against men speaking in a decent, educated manner. Well-spoken men don’t necessarily have women crawling all over them though.

With all that said, this is a pretty decent set of suggestions, all with biblical context. You can read the whole thing here. However, we have to consider reality. Men are told they have to be perfect and amazing to capture a “Daughter of the King”, they do their best, and they are sneered at in favor of Bad Boys who absolutely do not adhere to this list or any other Christian list. That is, until all the young women aren’t so young anymore and want a baby above all else. To reiterate what I said at the top of this post, men like this or at least realistic versions of this, do exist. Some of them post around here. The problem is not their rarity, it is the fact that women blatantly ignore them.

I guess the TL;DR version of this is: Lists like this do not help. Men are constantly being beat on by our churches to be perfect, and women already have lists of expectations that are unrealistic and don’t match up with who they’re dating anyway. So give it a rest. Encourage men and tell women to be realistic instead.


15 responses to “EG: Response to “Teen Girls Define “A Real Man””

  • donalgraeme

    Great post Alla. Based on just what you’ve quoted, I see all kinds of problems with their list. Bad doctrine and subjective values being especially prominent among them. When I get a chance I will read through the whole thing.

    I wonder what those ladies would think if I flipped the script and made a list of what a “Real Woman” is….

    • allamagoosa

      There are always problems with these lists. Even if they are good and accurate, the women don’t exactly line up to date the men that have the traits listed.

      Heh, they would be outraged and claim that you’re holding them to impossible standards or that they are “Daughters of the King” and don’t need to change to deserve a husband.

      • donalgraeme

        The reason there are always problems with these lists is because they are incomplete. Women do line up to date men that have the traits listed… if they also have the traits which aren’t on these lists. Ultimately it is those unspoken traits which matter the most. Without them, nothing will happen; with them, nothing else matters.

        I think that I will write that post now. I’ve done one sort of like it before, but I will take it up a notch and include the scripture quotes like this list did.

  • ar10308

    This is like the online dating profile list of things a woman wants in a man. If you make any inclination that you can meet her qualifications, you are automatically disqualified.

  • Emi Alianne

    “Well-spoken men don’t necessarily have women crawling all over them though.”

    Being well-spoken doesn’t automatically make a man attractive, but are you trying to imply that speaking in a “ghetto” or slangy way does?

    I would assume the bit about not telling gross-out stories is about not deliberately trying to gross people out for its own sake. I could tell gross stories to people, but if I know someone wouldn’t appreciate it or find it funny, and it isn’t necessary, then I don’t. Some people do find it amusing to try to make someone else look squeamish or make them feel disgusted.

    • allamagoosa

      It’s not my business to instruct men on how to speak. I’m critiquing this list of qualities that men are supposed to emulate to be a “real man”. Although your comment does make me realize something. Our speaking patterns are largely dictated by where we grew up and who our parents were. Not to say we can’t change those patterns, but it takes a lot of work. Claiming that real men are well spoken implies (hopefully accidentally) that men who are not from middle to upper class, (culturally) white, English speaking families are not real men.

      To get back to what you were saying, no, I think a man’s way of speaking has little influence over his attractiveness. Speaking in a slangy way is roughly the same for a man’s attractiveness as being well spoken. It’s a detail in the grand scheme of what actually makes a man attractive.

      The original article claims that they shouldn’t be gross for the purpose of impressing other men. Then, in a separate sentence says they shouldn’t “burp, swear, or tell disgusting stories”. As I mentioned in the OP, not swearing has a biblical precedent and is something you should make an effort to never do. Pairing burping and telling disgusting stories with swearing suggests they take a similar view of those, that you should make an effort to never do them. Rather than simply avoiding them when the context is inappropriate. If they wanted to say that a real man knows when something is or isn’t appropriate to say, they should have written something to that effect.

      Welcome, by the way.

  • Missing A Certain Little Something | Donal Graeme

    […] at Morning Sprinkles and Evening Gunfire, Allamagoosa has crafted a Response to “Teen Girls Define a Real Man.” Her post addresses one of those dreaded “lists” that show up not infrequently in […]

  • seriouslypleasedropit

    What if we clarified this list a little so it would be something that, if men acted upon, would actually produce an attractive Christian man? Perhaps we’ll run into fried-ice problems, but I’ll try anyway:

    1. Desires to comport himself according to the will of God.

    2. Respects his body, neither worshiping it as an idol nor letting it lie fallow.

    3. Is determined to be God-centered. Is not particularly concerned with looking the part to others, although wishes to avoid the appearance of evil.

    Hmm. As I look at this list I note a few things:

    1. I’m on target. Men should try and be like this. It might seem a short list, but all other virtues flow from it.
    2. It does not necessarily produce an attractive man.
    3. It is really hard to spot any of these things in a guy.

    What I conclude is that girls shouldn’t write lists—or if they do, they should write them for their own consumption rather than for guys to read. Lists like you above, Alla, do indeed highlight good things, but the fact that they’re written by a 17-yr-old and a 19-yr-old confuses the signal by implicitly promising sex. And the list they wrote won’t make a guy attractive. So guys who read their list and follow it ’cause they’re into Christian girls (hardly the worst of intentions) will have a sense of betrayal.

  • Missing A Certain Little Something | Christians Anonymous

    […] at Morning Sprinkles and Evening Gunfire, Allamagoosa has crafted a Response to “Teen Girls Define a Real Man.” Her post addresses one of those dreaded “lists” that show up not infrequently in Christian […]

  • mdavid

    I think the list is hilarious. Thanks for the post.

    Any man who would entertain a girl’s for suggestion on how to be attractive is, well, automatically unattractive. And a fool to boot, since girls are notorious for falling under a man’s spell without a clue why. This makes the list even funnier. That, and the girls are barely out of pajamas with feet in them.

    Any real list would include 1) he is my superior (in the traits I find important at this point in my life), 2) doesn’t give a rip what I think and isn’t afraid to tell me so, 3) has other girl options. Because hypergamy.

  • ray

    You’re an unusual young woman and I will explore your site further. cheers.

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