3/2/15

Do We Really Let Men Be Better?



I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.
Marcus Aurelius
For the longest time since I began Being Caballero, I was confused over who my main audience was. When I looked at Facebook’s media matrix, I just couldn’t understand how my largest audience was men between 25-45, yet they were the ones who least “engaged” with my posts. I saw how “Dating Advice” or “Business Empowerment” sites had better movement among my main audience. I actually considered redefining out target mission because of it, especially since a few of these sites had approached me a couple of time. That’s till I received a message from “Andrew from New York.”

Mr Caballero, As a 30 year old newlywed I often find myself thinking about the kind of person, the kind of man I would like to be for my wife and future family. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your thought-provoking writings about character and all your shared nuggets of wisdom. Your content is in its own class, and so refreshing in a sea of click-bait noise and "list" articles that do nothing for the soul. Please continue to do what you do and know that you are making a tremendous impact. Thank you, Andrew

Before you all think I post these kind of private messages as a habit, I actually asked his permission beforehand. We get those every once in a while, usually keeping them private. Yet this one was different, since as I wrote my response to his message I came to an epiphany. It’s not that men don’t want to become better; it’s that we have told them that wanting to just be better is wrong and something to hide.

All these “Dating Training” or “Business Empowerment” sites and workshops provide men with an excuse to be better, as they offer an endgame mentality. Train with them, you’ll get more women or follow their system and you’ll make more money. Both of these pursuits (women and money) are actually more acceptable within our society than wanting to be a better man. Ironically, neither money nor casual relationships are a true measure of the kind of man you are. We, as a society, have made men think that wanting to be better is an admission of weakness, that there is something wrong that you need to fix.   

Let’s do a mental exercise so I can better illustrate what I mean.

Let’s take a good look at “John” and what we have taught him about being a man. John love poetry but is afraid to let his friends know about it, as they will probably ridicule him. He will hide his online history from everyone, not because he is searching porn, but because he doesn’t want anyone finding out his reading list. He posts online using a pseudonym to avoid anyone knowing about his talent. He will sneak into composition and literature classes yet will hide in the back of the classroom to avoid anyone noticing, specially the teacher. He will go to poetry readings, yet will hide out in the dark corner of the club. When his friends find out about his interests, he will excuse it as he “learned it to pick up chicks.” This excuse will actually get him the approval of his friends.

Why does John go through all this trouble to hide his passion? Because he’s afraid that that his friends will consider his interests in poetry as something that lessens his masculinity. He's afraid that women will think of him as weak for having a genuine interest developing his art. He's afraid of seeming as a man with no real interests in his financial future as art is dismissed as a flight of fancy.

We need to let men know that there is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself with no endgame in mind. We need to let men know that there is no shame in having a passion and that wanting to be better doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you to begin with. We need to let men know that self-betterment isn’t something you do when your young and we actually need to teach our young men that they can always be better. Because the truth is, no matter how good you are, you can always be better.