Are strong masculine men a thing of the past?

Sad man feeling lost

Masculine/feminine polarity is a hot topic right now. 

 

At a recent lunch with some friends, as often happens when girls meet, we were catching up on dating and relationship stories.

Once again, we had some lengthy discussions on the quality of potential matches available to women, especially those in their 40’s and above, like us.

“Why are men these days so wishy-washy?’“, said one friend.

“Yeah”, said another, “When did men forget how to invite a woman on a date and make her feel special and wanted?’…

“I long to meet a really masculine man who can sweep me off my feet”… sighs a third beautiful lady around the table. 

“What are your experiences with your clients, Valentina, and how do you help them? You must be asked this question all the time after all…”

I had to agree the chances of meeting the kind of men my friends and clients are seeking are pretty thin.

Because one thing is for sure….

 

Masculinity is definitely in crisis.

 

Or, rather, men are no longer sure what being masculine means. It used to be pretty obvious. Now not so much.

How could they really? Many men today grew up without a present father and many among those fathers who stuck around were hardly positive role models.

Beyond encouraging men to go to the gym to get bigger muscles (and sometimes advocating anti-feminist behaviours), social media is not supporting boys and men to become the partners women today are looking for.

While for us there is plenty of #womenempowerment #girlboss #queenrising discourse out there (I’ve been on this bandwagon for 10 years myself), men have little to no guidance when it comes to what makes a man, a man.

Can we blame them?

 

I invite you to think about the men in your life: fathers, bosses, husbands, teachers and even celebrities you admire.

How many of them are truly a role model for masculinity?

How many embody the Provider/Protector/Hero archetype we associate with masculinity?

My guess is, not many….

This outstanding @washingtonpost article goes into a lot of the historical, political, economic and educational reasons why this may be happening, so I will let you read it there.

But there are a few key points I want to highlight, as a response to my friend’s questions above:

Symptoms of what I like to call “masculine energy deficit’ range from

– lack of direction and purpose,

– loneliness and difficulty in connecting with others (having few male friends and struggling to engage with women),

– huge gaps in mating opportunities due to the fact that 80% of women look for qualities present in 10% of men (height, income, social status)…

– all the way to self-doubt and insecurity manifesting as waiting for the ladies to make dating plans, decide when and where to go and ‘never being quite sure’.

We may all believe the good old ‘it’s a man’s world’ mindset is all alive and kicking, but the truth is the myth of patriarchy is only valid for the 1% of men in positions of power.

Most men are depressed, anxious, insecure and lost.

We could just sit and lament this sorry state of affairs and start to plan our retirement with our besties….

Or we can acknowledge our role in this….

Is feminism part of the problem?

I work with many strong, successful, ambitious, high-achieving women who are great leaders and pretty much have it all: stellar careers, six-figures start ups businesses, financial security, property investments, even their eggs frozen away safely waiting for the perfect moment.

Or Mr. Perfect himself. 

Except, this mythical creature is taking his time showing up.

What I tell these women shocks them (and maybe you) to their core:

All we need is to look in the mirror.

We cannot find Mr. Perfect because we have become him!

The 21st century woman is perfectly capable of providing for herself, better than most men around her.

She has enough financial power to feel her future is secure, and, in a place like Hong Kong, she hardly needs a man to protect her in the street.

She is also her own hero: smart, resilient and capable, she is no longer the damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued.

And, for all of that, she is exhuasted.

When we fought for women’s rights, I doubt the right to do it all ourselves was what we were truly after.

We still need balance between the feminine and masculine energy inside of us and in our relationships with the opposite sex.

 

We need to make space for men to embody the masculine energy we want them to display: leading, achieving, providing and protecting are all qualities of the masculine. It’s not that we don’t have it inside us. Clearly we have this in spades.

But just because we can do it all, doesn’t mean we should! 

Too many women I know (I’ll put myself top of the list here) struggle with asking for help. Too many are shit scared of being vulnerable and showing how we feel. Too many are caught up between wanting to be courted but also wanting to take control and make things happen.

As always, it all has to start with the (wo)man in the mirror. Let’s all take a good look at ourselves and make a change. Everyone will benefit.

 

If you don’t know how, I have a proposition for you.

 

On April 26 and 27, I am bringing to Hong Kong one of the rare men I know who embodies these qualities – Dr. James Pogue PHD. Not only is he a brilliant Executive Coach, Public Speaker (and amazing dancer) but he is also the creator of the Connection Quotient (CQ) – a tool that helps people determine their capacity for authentic connection with others. 

Please join us for a one day retreat in Discovery Bay to learn more about what we can practically do to find this balance in our lives and create deep intimate relationships. 

Visit the event page here