Today a friend sent me a collection of jokes making fun of the ineptitude of men. Here’s one of them:
One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, ‘What setting do I use on the washing machine?’
‘It depends,’ I replied. ‘What does it say on your shirt?’
He yelled back, ‘OHIO STATE!’
And they say blondes are dumb.…
The jokes were funny, and I got a kick out of them, but on the other hand they were depressing, since they are a slander on so many good men. I suppose there are plenty of men like the ones in the jokes, but I don’t know many, and was not raised as one of them. I did not forward this line of jokes on to any of my friends.
I’m tired of the characterization of men by popular culture as an assortment of donut-cramming, drooling, drunken, bumbling rubes with our hands down our pants, stumbling through life. Thanks to Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin and any number of television shows or commercials this is the image being portrayed. Now I will not sit here and deny that there are men who generally will fit that description, but to paint with as broad a brush as the media does serves no favors to anyone. Instead you have women asking “is there a real man out there?” The world is left with little boys having no knowledge of a man to model themselves after, little girls without a strong male presence in their lives, and men who have decided to just give up and live down to expectations. And I’m sick of it.
One day, years from now, my little girl will start to date. I will be older then and in my mid-fifties. Well before she brings one home for me to meet she will have learned to discern between a man and a joke-man. She is already seeing the modeling not just from me, but from my friends, from her uncles, and even her older teenage brother. She will not be prone to bringing one home for me to meet. And if one does sneak through the cracks I will flesh him out and expose the truth. Better she learn early than after it’s too late. I am friends with a woman in Texas who with her husband have raised two amazing and beautiful daughters. One of them is engaged. I simply cannot imagine either of these young ladies settling for a joke-man. And if she had, I can imagine that both her father AND her mother would have had a long talk with her. I also have a friend in southern California whose two young teenaged daughters also know the difference. Both couples know. The mom’s, Angela and Chris, would never want that for their daughters. Both ladies married real men, Bill and Doug. Actually, the joke-men/boys would not hold up under the scrutiny of these young ladies fathers. Joke-men never do.
Men who have been taught, and who believe, that they are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her, do not refuse to use vacuum cleaners, mops, washing machines, or stoves. They do not leave the discipline of the children to their wives—a cowardly and shameful practice—or insist on being waited on by consorts they treat as idiots or slaves. They seek to marry the kind of women who value them as men, whose opinions are worth listening to, and whom they can trust completely with everything. Then they seek to do the most they can to make their lives happy. Of course they lapse into selfishness from time to time, but these are not the joke-men; these are men who love their wives as their own flesh, make and keep their vows to them, draw close to them and love them. There are many of them in the world, and the Faith teaches that all Christian husbands are to be among them.
No doubt, though, there are feminists fond of the joke-man—who needs him like an eskimo needs a swimsuit, is the inferior, the incompetent, the heedless, the foolish, the improvident, the helpless, the selfish, the lazy, and the stupid. But the man who seeks to obey God in his treatment of women, and especially of his wife, is none of these. He exalts her by helping her—which includes increasing his field of competence—while the believing wife gladly lifts him up as the lord of her home, her family, and her self. This is not an impossible ideal. By the grace of God it is lived out every day among millions.
And of course, there are the lazy clods themselves who prefer to propagate this stereotype. I suspect they’re mostly college age males or those who never grew up. I’ve met a few of them and almost all of them have heard my opinion regarding their actions: “Man up.”