In Which We Celebrate Men! [not ironic]

Dear Men,

This is my Valentine’s Day love letter to you. I can’t help but notice that us ladies often make casual remarks about how useless and clueless you men are without ever noticing how truly awesome you can be at times. I also see a pattern in pop culture representations of you as overgrown children unable to take care of yourselves or make intelligent decisions without a woman present. Those fictional men suck and they’re just as irritating to me as when women are portrayed either as controlling emasculating nags or as brainless sex objects.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird; a strong and morally upright man of conviction

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird; a man of great strength, compassion, and conviction

“But Brenda”, you might say, “don’t we still run the world, earn more money than you, start all of the wars, commit most of the violent crimes, and leave our wet towels on the bathroom floor?” Well, yes, these things are true. But I personally know lots of men who are caring and kind, and who haven’t instigated any armed conflicts at all. So this is for the good men of the world, the ones that the jerks and misogynists should look up to in order to learn about how to be real men.

One thing I have to say that I have been learning from you (it’s a work in progress) is that when we want something, we should ask for it! It seems so simple, I know. You probably think it’s the most natural thing in the world to do, but women have been taught that our desires are shameful and we should try and please others. Way to express yourselves, men! I’m trying to be more like you in this respect.

Something else that I have learned about you recently, and which has made all the difference in my personal life, is how much you want to help out and be useful. Yes, even though we are independent women who can install our own air conditioning units if we really have to, without fail you decide to make our lives a little bit nicer by offering to help. Yay you!

Idris Elba wants to help you move furniture… if you’ll just let him

And speaking of lifting heavy things, let’s talk about your upper-body strength! I won’t lie — it is incredibly sexy that you can pick up large objects with seeming ease. When I take in your broad back, or notice a flexed bicep protruding from your t-shirt sleeve, I am reminded of how very different we are from each other. And I like it.

I also like the way in which you confidently opine about the things that interest you, like mortgage rates or the future of hybrid vehicles. I’m not sure if you actually know what you’re talking about, but you sure sound like you do! And  sometimes you get a bit boisterous and argumentative with your friends over really unimportant things, like sports teams, and it’s pretty cute. The fact that you can be all loud and cocky makes it so much more adorable when you speak gently with us and let yourselves be vulnerable.

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; every woman's dream romance

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; every woman’s dream romance

One of the most surprising things about you, men, and this certainly doesn’t come up very often in pop culture, is how very competent you are. This may not be the most feministy thing to say, but I feel safe with you! Being responsible for all the decisions in one’s own life, having to organise one’s own transportation, meals, and entertainment starts to feel like an exhausting backpacking trip after a while. A dozen or so years of planning everything independently, much like an extended travel adventure, has been incredibly enriching and yet also draining. Which is why I’m so impressed by how you are able to step in take on some of the burden… and do it well, at that! (Also, how do you always know which direction is which? It’s like you have a magical compass brain.)

And lastly, men are just incredibly charming. I love how your eyes light up when you’re passionate about something. And I especially like it when that eye-sparkle is directed my way! Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic (ok, I know that I am), but I suspect that those looks mean that you love all the little feminine things that make us who we are too. I know that we can be complicated and more than a little difficult to figure out, so thanks for being patient. Thanks for being loving. You represent the best of your gender and I love you for it.

So, have a happy Valentine’s Day! May your lives be filled with warmth, and may your mouths be filled with cinnamon hearts.

With mucho affection,


  1. I LOVE it!! This was a WONDERFUL post, Brenda! It’s true, there are a lot of great men out there and they should be thanked more often. I’m lucky to have one, myself! A guy who loves to cook, do laundry and is serious about home repairs is always a star. And let’s not forget their sense of humor! If they make you laugh every day—it is definitely worth it 🙂

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