Whatever certain men say about regrets — that they shouldn’t be had, that whatever mistakes one has made, have made us the men we are today — amongst my many, the numerous, excessive, cowardly failures of youth and the present day, there stands one, nearly above the rest.
I remember a day of my youth, about the age of maybe 15, walking through a park with a young, beautiful blonde. The day had been spent well enough — whatever she thought of me, whether romantically or not, I was interested in her, and every moment, every conversation, every glance mattered. Yet within this picture of youthful ecstasy entered another, a youth we both knew; a black, ugly, forceful young man, who placed his hands upon the blonde in a manner which left me in a state of shock.
I was not sure, at that moment, by gauging her expression, that something was wrong. Physically, I knew something was wrong — an act which deserved retaliation; but it wasn’t until later that she’d mentioned how she felt about it. She had been violated, and I had stood there and done nothing, said nothing, because in my cowardice, I would rather have risked her violation than risked her disapproval at rescue.
My imagination plays cruel games with me, driving me to frustration, wishing that time, set in cold, dead marble, could become once again like sand — my will determining its shape, my choices building grain upon grain to form not the tombstone of the coward, but the monument of the mighty.
I wish now that I’d broken his face, that this pushy, borderline rapist — who undoubtedly went on to harass other women — had left with a bloodied shirt and a sense of shame and fear; that I’d taken a risk for her; that I was heroic. But instead of defending a beautiful woman, I permitted her assailant liberty. Instead of claiming my virtue as a man, I became something subhuman instead; weak, excessively contemplative, ashamed. It may be true that Jesus Christ commands us to turn our own cheeks; but He never told us to allow sexual assault. He never said “turn your helpless neighbor’s cheek for her.” No, if we’re to take Biblical Law seriously, He never even prohibited striking someone. For a man to place his hands upon another woman in that manner — crude, vile, abominable — deserves the worst that a man can give another within the boundaries of the Law.
Whatever spirit — or lack thereof — possessed me at that moment, I cannot forget it. That war of ugliness upon the beautiful; that depravity impressing itself upon innocence; that horror of the strong pressing upon the weak — in my presence! On my watch! With my permission!
I do not know how other men feel about this subject, but let the honorable agree upon one thing: that if the above coward was us, that he is us no longer. When Providence allots strength for the protection of the weak, and power for the defense of the innocent, then let us wield it dutifully, giving of ourselves, whatever the consequences, so that when memories speak from ages past, we can live with honor instead of shame.
For there is something within the breasts of men — something which distinguishes us from the fairer sex, something noble, something dangerous, which gives us the name of Man. It transcends the physical, belonging to both small and large, old and young, an almost inexplicable desire to protect women; a something which I don’t believe manhood is complete without, and yet is so oftentimes neglected, and in our modern day repressed. To feel a woman within your arms, and have her know that she is safe; to comfort the distressed, to rescue her from the jaws of death or the dangers of evil men — if a man doesn’t feel this, what should we call him? And what more should we call him if he refuses to act upon it?
When this sentiment is lacking, it is untrue, unfair — unsafe — to call a male a man.
No, perilous times call for frankness and manly honesty, not a spirit of nurture or effeminacy. For tyranny comes not publicly in brutish, unshaved faces and dirty undershirts; but from young blondes — independent without reason — touting lyrics like I’m just a girl […] and they won’t let me stay out late at night; women incapable of understanding the aggressive nature of man, the dangers inherent in the natural universe; women political beyond their understanding and hostile to gentlemen, women who view any admittance of physical weakness as permission to domination. I can do little to correct their insanity — this attitude which believes all discomfort and duty can be relieved, and yet all liberty expressed — this attitude, which demands a right to sleep with whomever she pleases, and then protests “anybodies” on the sidewalk making sexual remarks — this attitude which accepts constant objectification through pornography and media, which desires to play with beasts, which undresses and drinks itself into stupidity, and then is surprised when accosted by man — Man! Whose biological form testifies his predatory nature! Whose size and build exceeds that of woman! Whose historical records testify of large harems, rapes en masse, and brutal beating! And she believes none of what she sees!
No — sensible women know that men are always aggressors; men must be suppressed by the gasps of offended women and the fists of angry, protective gentlemen. When women don’t gasp, and men don’t fight, women testify by their silence that any woman can be treated like a whore.
Let us defend women whether we think they will appreciate it or not, and let us call ourselves men.