I love Rhett Butler.
No, not Gerard. Rhett.
In fact, I feel that every man and woman on the planet should be made to watch “Gone With The Wind” at least twice, if only to teach men how to be men and women how to separate them from the boys. And if you are dating in the here and now, you know where the boys are: on Tinder, on Match, on the street, making vulgar statements about what they’d like to do with you and where. They’re in your phone texting sexual innuendos before they know your last name and asking to “hang out” because they’re terrified of committing to the idea of a proper date.
Rhett Butler would not do any of this.
Rhett was a man in control of himself. He dressed and spoke well, loved better, and had a great sense of humor, sometimes of questionable taste. He was unafraid to speak his mind, stand his ground, fall wildly in love, and show his love (and fight for it, too). Now, before you remind me that I’m speaking about a fictional character, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I was raised by a grandfather who lived this way and know a few men who live this way now, and make no mistake: they do wonderfully with women.
As a woman, there’s nothing better than being in the presence of a man who relishes in his masculinity in a way that doesn’t involve the obvious chest-pounding and cat-calling, but the confident reserve of a gentleman. Now, before you accuse me of hating men, let me be clear; I love more things about men than I can put into one article. This is not about finding female empowerment though man-bashing. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s a celebration of the grown up man’s man who knows how to treat a woman. What does this man look like, to me, at least? Well…
1. He is hygenic, but cleans his nails and trims his nose hairs outside of a nail salon. Think about it: Would Hemingway or Gladiator be getting his nails buffed? Methinks not.
2. He can balance both swag and sophistication and a career and a personal life without too many proverbial exclamation points (and certainly not multiple ones in a text message. No, no, no).
3. He reserves his “LOL” for actual laughter, which he exudes out loud and often.
4. He isn’t looking to play “pen pal” with you through your iPhone because he knows that all text and no play makes Johnny a very dull boy.
5. When he’s interested in a woman, he doesn’t wait three days to call her, but he does actually call her, and when he does, he asks her out for dinner, makes reservations, picks a great bottle of wine (because he knows how to) and then makes sure she gets home safely.
6. If he wants to see her again, he lets her know, and if he doesn’t, he politely lets her know that it was a pleasure to spend time with her, even if it wasn’t. He does, however, let her know gently and firmly enough that he’s not interested so that she doesn’t waste her time thinking it might become something it won’t.
7. He reads actual books and newspapers and holds opinions on everything from scotch pairings to world events all the while understanding that not all of his opinions are facts and that not everyone has to agree with him in order for him to maintain his relationships or his manhood. In fact, he enjoys it when you don’t agree with him because it means he gets to indulge you in a good debate or leave you thinking a little bit harder about things than when you sat down in front of him.
8. He opens doors and takes coats, not because he feels a woman is weak, but because he is strong enough to show that he cares about the comfort of those around him.
9. Sure, he might want to get into a woman’s bed, but he’s also interested in getting into her head as experience has shown him that seduction is a delicate dance and the man who resides in her mind has conquered every other part of her.
10. He appreciates a woman who shows she cares for him, but he isn’t interested in being courted. He enjoys the taking the lead in courting and doesn’t need to be “chased” because he’s in desperate need of an ego stroke. He also won’t play “puppy dog” to a woman who takes advantage of this.
11. He doesn’t look to be anyone’s father or savior, and he doesn’t pretend to be the leading man in any woman’s fairy tale. He’s just a man looking for a partner who can slay her own dragons, pay her own bills and explore the world alongside him.
12. He looks for a woman who doesn’t need him, but wants him, not for money or the happiness or a baby or a safety net, but solely for who he is.
13. He has a career, a hobby, a family of close friends and a favorite way to have his steak prepared and he isn’t the least bit intimidated when the woman in front of him shares these qualities; quite the contrary, it makes him want her more.
14. He has taken the time to get to know himself and has a strong understanding of his own character and convictions, what he values and what he doesn’t. He is a man who is honest with himself about himself and therefore is OK being honest with those around him.
15. He takes as much pride in the way he treats women he’s with as he does his job and the way he looks.
16. He’s not the bad boy, a good boy, or a boy at all; he’s a man. A leading man, and he’s looking not for a good girl, but a great woman. One who shares all of the solid qualities that he brings to the table, and perhaps, can teach him something along the way. He’s willing to wait and work for this woman, to fight for her and will gladly hold out for her as long as he needs to. But when she comes along, he doesn’t sit on the fence; he’s smart enough to know when he’s gotten damned lucky. And when she finds him, she should be smart enough to know the same.