Josh Irby

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I’m a Man, Please Don’t Lower Your Expectations [Open Letter Fourth Place]

Editor’s Note: This post is written by Dr. Mark, who won fourth place in the Open Letter Challenge writing contest. The following letter is a response to An Open Letter to You from the Rest of the World. You can connect with Dr. Mark on his blog, Sushi and Pizza, and read the original post there.

Photo Credit JD Hancock (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit JD Hancock (Creative Commons)

Dear World,

I am a man.

To most anyone, I look like your average American man. I have a wife and two wonderful children. I have a dog. I work two jobs. I drive a four-door, American-made sedan. I love baseball, apple pie, and jazz music. I am normal.

But I am anything but stereotypical.

Why do we as a society accept the male stereotypes the media parades before us time and time again? Our culture would have us believe there is a little Homer Simpson in all of us–that underwear-clad, beer-swilling, unenlightened Neanderthal that wakes up every morning, gives half an effort at a dead-end job, and comes home only to fall asleep on the couch in front of mindless television, all the while reinforcing the stereotype that we men have nothing to offer this world but our money and our sperm.

I am not an automaton.

I am a Renaissance man.

Or, at least I try to be.

I love my wife, and I’m not afraid to show it.

I love when my kids want to cuddle up to me, and my lap will never be too small for them.

I am a feminist and believe women should have every opportunity that men do in this country.

I don’t babysit my children. I father.

I cook.

I clean.

I’m athletic. I lettered in four sports during high school.

I cry when something moves me.

Power tools don’t intimidate me, and while plumbing and I don’t get along, I’ll attempt any home repair.

I love to see 007 save the day, but I also love it when Lloyd holds up that boom box and Peter Gabriel tries to help him convince Diane that they should be together.

I write poetry.

I play music.

I think that “The Book of Love” is one of the greatest songs ever written, and I sob like a baby when J.D. walks out of Sacred Heart to watch that final home movie of his future with Elliott.

I think boys should learn to treat girls with respect, long before they want to date any of them.

I think that the promises men make to the world while marching with a million men or standing in a crowded stadium don’t mean a thing compared to the promises they keep within the walls of their homes.

I want my son to recognize that he is in control of his thoughts, emotions, desires, and urges. You are an evolved and enlightened being.

I want my daughter to realize that she deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and that there is nothing she can say or do that will make anyone think more highly of her than she already thinks of herself.

I think dads should kiss their children forever and ever.

I think that as funny as he is, Doug Heffernan is disgusting, and as hard as Carrie works she has every right to demand that he take better care of himself.

And I am tired of the world telling us that even when we show up and are present, that we will forever be thoughtless, clueless, and in the end, just one more child for our wife or girlfriend or mother or partner to take care of. We are more than that. We have the X and the Y chromosome. We have the yin and the yang. We are strong and sensitive.

We know who we are. I just wish the world wouldn’t expect less.

Not just a man.


Open Letter Cover 2

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