12/29/14

Sustainable Gentleman



I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.
Charlotte Brontë
I am going to pull back the curtain and give you a glimpse into how some of this works. I participate in several closed groups and inner circles on Gentlemen Empowerment. Yes, there are such groups, most running behind the scenes, where we discuss things like self-care, relationships, gender issues, social topics, economy, etc.; basically anything dealing with today’s society and how men fit into it. One group in particular, I am rather fond of, as it is composed of both men and women; from the clothing and fashion industry, relationship therapists, sociologist, psychologists, activists, and artists; so it’s an amazing talent pool to have access to.

I threw into that pool a simple question hoping to fish some feedback, and what I got was as surprising as it was simple.

That is the most important characteristic or the most important skill set a man should have?

I threw this in, expecting a discussion on confidence, yet what I got back was rather different. One of the ladies from the group chimed in with the following.

Knowing how to take care of yourself. That's HOT.

From there, she expanded as to how so many men she has dealt with just seem to be totally incompetent and unable to look after themselves. She refuses to be anyone’s mother, other than to her children. She then continued with the idea that a man needs to be able to take care of himself and his things.

My initial reaction was that she was meeting the wrong men, till I let it sink in. How many men do I personally know that their wives/girlfriends pick out their cloths? How many men do I know that can’t cook their meals? How many women have I heard complain that they feel like a maid to their husbands? How many men do I know complain that society reduces them to a checking account, yet their only survival skill is to hand out a credit card to get the basic things required to live like a grown man done?

Way too many men go straight from their mothers taking care of them to a wife taking care of them. They never learn the lessons of living on your own, not the way you do in a dorm, but as a grown man who actually takes care of himself and invests in himself. When you start viewing yourself as your greatest asset, you start realizing how taking care of yourself and your things is an investment. And the first thing you need to create is self-sufficiency and sustainability.

I am not talking about making enough money or managing a corporate empire, but about having the basic survival skills for the modern world. Something like cooking a meal, or caring for your clothing, or simply having a clean home are actually the first steps to “getting your shit together.” You can’t really expect anyone to think you can take care of things if you can’t even take care of yourself.