How To Let A Man Be A Man

April 9, 2011  |  

Ladies, let me ask you all a question: What makes a man a man? Because of several factors, namely a lack of father figures, it seems as if we have scores of young ladies and even grown women who really don’t know the answer to this question. I was writing in one of my favorite cafes when a young woman got my attention after complimenting me on my kinky twists. We bonded on a mutual love of Whitney Houston (pre “crack is whack” Whitney), and chatted about one of my favorite topics- dating and gender roles. And while I could tell that this young woman was quite the catch- beautiful, educated, with a great job- I was saddened to hear how completely clueless she was about men. She admitted to doing things like chasing down men to set up dates. She even admitted to paying on dates because she didn’t want to be accused of being “selfish” or a “gold-digger.” And despite all her “efforts” she constantly found herself dating losers and was quickly becoming disillusioned with men in general. That’s when I offered some advice.

I told this woman that she was making one major mistake when dating:  She was not letting men be men. What do I mean by that? Well, my father taught me that real men pay for dates, real men open doors, real men call to set up dates, real men offer to pick you up for a date, and real men call to see if you got home safely– essentially real men behave like men. My father taught me that if a man I encountered had a problem with any of the following things I’ve listed, then he’s not a man. And because of my father’s advice, I’m always a bit perplexed when I encounter women that try, for whatever reason, to flip the script and assume the role of a man. I know that we women are out here doing our thing- and we should be proud. But one thing we should not try to be is men. There was a perfect design set in place for men and women. So don’t ruin things for yourself and your relationship by trying to flip the script. Women should be women. And we should let our men be men.

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  • vibrant77

    Author’s article may seem antiquated, but she speaks truth. Feminism has its positive and negative. Negative being women truly do act like men being pursuant in chasing a man.and being aggressive. And the man will end up marrying the demure more laid back woman who isnt balls to the wall. Yeah, its not 1950 but biologically speaking, men are hunters. Let him be the provider and pursue you!

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  • Grace

    My mother was the breadwinner in my family, and my father was a stay at home dad until my siblings and I were old enough to come home from school and be at the house by ourselves. If anyone in my family had taken your advice my parents would be divorced and I would be in a foster home. The world is not as simple as you’re making it and gender roles are social, not biological. You’re pretty disgusting. The world is changing and personally, I don’t need a man to provide for me and make my decisions. I need a man who I can share my life with and who will respect me and vice versa, the notion that a man shows his manliness by paying for dinner and getting down on one knee is absurd. Let a man show he is a man by respecting your decision to work, by being a good partner, being emotionally available, being a strong role model for his sons and daughters. 

  • What an absolute load of rubbish. 

  • Liz

    The only one I wholeheartedly agree with here is the last one. Look, author, that’s totally fine if that’s how you want to live your life and the kind of men you want to surround yourself with, but there is no way you can say that doing those things are necessary for a man to be a man. It’s just bullshit. Men come in all varieties. In this day and age very few women are just housewives, we all work, so why should a man be required to pay for dinner? I think it would be weird if a guy asked me to cover it, for sure, but it seems awkward to me to do anything but split the bill when you don’t know each other well. And you seriously wait in the car for the guy to come around and open your door? I would DEFINITELY feel uncomfortable doing that. Like, what, I’m not capable of opening it? And for both men and women, some are more shy and some are more outgoing, and it just depends on what the individual is like as to which is more natural to be the pursuer, the first one to call, etc. There’s no actual reason a guy has to do that. Yes, gender roles change with the times, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

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  • I’ll complain that you have copied material from another source

  • Lisalisa1022

    LOVES IT!!

  • I work, so I’ll pay for my own dinner. I don’t like men paying for my dinner because they’ll lose respect and see me as pathetic. Also, I don’t dig the whole chivalry thing. It’s nice, but it’s not necessary. I have arms. I can open a door for myself. I would though, never propose to a man. That’s lame. Also, if a man gives me his number, I’ll text. I don’t call. If I give him my # it’s up to him. I’m not going to chase a man down. When I do have one, I treat him very special: I cook, I do “girlfriend” things, etc. 

  • your thoughts and opinions help me see the light.

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  • Tami

    I agree with the writer, except for in the case of always letting the man make the initial contact. Men have given me their number, & I have called first. Some men are a bit shy…but after that I let them take the lead. I have had a couple of relationships that started with me just making a phone call…Some were good, some were bad…& I would do it again…But I'm with the author…Never propose to the man…Let us let the man do something!!!!


    wish it was more like u out here keep spreading the truth

  • New York Gal

    Like the article, thanks for the inspiration. When is your book coming out? You're so right about looking at older relationships that valued vows etc. Yep, learned my lesson too after the last heart break, so now I am waiting and asking God to keep the imposters away. Changing the channel! Lol!

  • Lana Toussaint

    Enter text right here!

  • @Jake, A Rose here, not to be confused with the other poster named Rose, nothing against her or her post, just two different people with the same name.

    Furthermore Jake, I just wanted to add that you presented a reasonable and well thought out contribution to this discussion. I hope we all realize that to a certain degree one's out look on dating, marriage, and gender roles will be influenced by everything from their childhood, family background, gender, socio-economic, culture, and educational levels. Most of us know that even if you follow the rules verbatim you could still get screwed literally and figuratively. Also, agree that a man, who has true leadership potential and/or the qualities of a leader doesn't need anyone including a woman letting him be who he is, a partner or mate can help enhance and even help polish some of those things in his personality that require balance but he is either already on that path or doesn't give a darn and no amount of manipulation or playing, weak, helpless, hard to get or coy is going do anything otherwise and make him into someone he isn't.

  • Brian K

    @ Zora I don't think any real men need women to take care of them. But you can't make blanket statements about what a man should do without then making blanket statements about what women should do. I understand you have a good man and it works for you but for others it may not be the same. To say that if a man doesn't pay for a date it means he won't take care of his wife is a bit of a stretch and not true. Having a family to take care of is different from dating someone you don't know. The thing is with your logic i don't know where it leads. Should a man pay for dates, holidays and gifts, and court a woman and in return she should cook for him, pleasure him physically when he desires and clean up after him? Or should a man just pay for everything and accept what he gets, because that doesn't really seem fair. What if dating doesn't lead to anything serious?
    I'm of this opinion for two reasons. First on the one hand, i have paid for drinks and had women walk away without a word. My friends have been used for dinner and shopping sprees and then ditched. Should we just accept it because we are men? Thats why you need to get to know someone and have them show they like you for you before you start to give them the good life.
    Second reason is that i know many dudes (including myself) who have treated women we have just met like queens. The problem is women need to realise that you are not so special that a man you don't know will spend on you without a motive often physical. In the same way that a man needs to earn your trust to get a classy girl in bed, you need to show you are worth that good life. Just because a man spends money on you and treats you like a princess doesn't mean he wants you around after he has gotten what he wants.
    So why not forget all these rules and requirments and get to know each other first? If your man graduates from Harvard law and works as a community organiser, makes you feel special with great conversation but doesn't have money to pay for dates does that mean he will be a bad husband and father?

  • A real man doesn't need permission to be a man.He takes the lead.

  • Ruzha

    I'm a strong Aries woman and naturally have a problem with men who cannot fix tings as fast as I would like it and the way I want it. I don't mind being cared for and protected that's a good feeling and I don't mind treating him in return or cook from time to time but I am not playing fake submission so someone else can feels better and securer about himself. Sorry, not in my nature. I don't weaken my strength for anybody!
    If I can do it why call someone else? If I can't do it then I have no problems calling for help. No problems. But don't expect me to be invited to dinner and afterwards the man demands sth in return? Excuse me, f*ck off!

    • a wife

      you are going to be single forever with that attitude.

  • Zora

    Why in the world are women dating men that cannot pay for dates? Look, if you want a relationship, a real one that can lead to marriage and all that, then a good number of men are just not going to be in the running. If you want someone to kick it with and just hang so you're not bored on Saturday night then that is different.

    Men that do not want to pay for dates are also less likely to want to be providers in general. The fact that women make more money is not true. Men still earn more. Just because a good number of professional black women earn more money than average black males does not mean that brothers can get out of paying the tab. Even if she makes more than you, you should still pay. Even if she earned more than you, she should be able to quit her job and stay home and raise the children. There is no financial equality, this is a red herring. Many men just don't want the pressure of having to perform at a high level professionally. So getting a woman with "her own" is a one-way ticket to mediocrity.

    Women, stop falling for the lies. Earn enough to take care of yourself, but don't think you need to be out here splitting a lifestyle with a man. If he wants to be with you, he needs to support you and yes that includes financially. If he wants a partner to split things with, he can get a room ate, if he wants a wife he needs to come correct from jump and show and prove that he can provide and protect. This means paying for dates, calling after a date, picking you up for dates, etc. If he can't pro e he can do these things before you get serious (and marriage is the only logical conclusion, anything else means your single) then he never will.

    In conclusion, a man should pursue you, he should pay, he should make sure you feel safe and secure, he should propose, he should provide, etc. Women are the prize, stop giving away your crown!

    And before you folks in denial jump on me, yes I am married. And yes, my advice worked for me. My husband understands what is expected and has understood from day one. I never flipped the script or changed or flip flopped. He made the choice to step up in all areas. And in return he has a great home life. Is it perfect, no, but compared to his friends that married "independent, let's go Dutch" type women he is ecstatic. Those men's wives are never happy because they did not lay out their expectations beforehand. They pretended like they were willing to "support their man" when in reality they are bitter and angry that their husbands are mediocre. Meanwhile i got what i wanted – a very aggressive and hardworking man who is rewarded for consistently meeting my needs. Instead of being a burden and aggravating to me like many men are to their women, he is my hero.

    This article is right, if you take away a mans ability to problem solve by trying to "be equal" you are not helping!! Your job is to sit back and relax(and support, of course) but not to be out three with your sleeves rolled up, that is unfeminine and real,y not necessary. Most men can rise to incredible levels of productivity and success. Get out of the way and let them do it.

  • Rastaman

    It is funny how the author is all about letting a man being man by what the woman allows him to do for her. No words or inference about what is expected. I am sure there are many men who would have no problem adhering to those "rules" if the were getting the same benefits that their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers got but the world we live in is quite different from the one my grandfather existed. You meet women from drop these days who give you a long list of things you should not expect them to do. One of the reason my father married my mother was because she was a great cook and her house was clean. I am gong to pay for all the dates and you on day one are telling me I don't cook and I do not expect me to ever.

    I cook, clean and do my laundry pretty well and I am not in search specifically of a woman to do those things but i will be damned if I am going to cater to anyone based on some outdated gender myth for her company. I have yet to meet a woman so interesting that I will overlook her not bringing anything to the table. That is the rub the author and some of the comments here conveniently overlook, men at one time did all the things prescribed because they lived in a society where most women had very little financial stake and the women understood that they brought certain other things of value into the interaction that would benefit the man. Reciprocity, the basis of successful human relationships since the beginning of time. Let your man be a man but first learn to be a woman, it is clear that too is not being thought either.

    • silent observer

      My thoughts exactly. Although the author made some valid points, her arguments were totally one-sided. She was totally silent on what the woman should do to be a woman. Being a woman is far more than simply receiving every good thing the man has to offer, while doing nothing for the man. No wonder American relationships are in such a total mess. Women have this sense of entitlement it shows up everywhere. Fortunately, men have learnt. They now know how to play the game. If a woman will not play the role of woman, the men are quick to cut her lose.

  • Silent Observer

    What is wrong with you? Your relationship is working, but it seems to be different from what the author proposed. So what? Does that make the author wrong and you right?
    I very much doubt you have done much traveling outside your immediate area. If you have, you will realize that many other cultures do things differently than America, and they often have much better results.
    In case you have not noticed, marriages where men and women have clearly defined roles, and where each gender embraced those roles, often last much longer, and the couples are much happier. Ask your grandpa and grandma if they are both still alive. Or pay a visit to any country in Asia.
    I sincerely hope that your stand on this site is purely for discussion purposes, and not how you view life generally, because your views appear rather parochial. Please open your eyes and learn a little from others.
    God bless.

    • silent observer

      Continue to see only what you want to see. Your grandpa was a spouse abuser; mine wasn't, so you have no point there. And if all you could see in Tibet is polyandry, good luck to you. You should, at least be intellectually honest enough to say that the practice is illegal, and that it only currently occurs in the rural areas. A foreigner could visit the US and say the whole country is on cocaine and marijuana, just because some misguided souls in the ghetto are regularly stoned. Kick boxing is not encouraged among women in Thailand. So what? Look, all your arguments are porous at best. I can keep on picking holes in all these weak arguments, but I decline.
      Let us compare apple to apple and orange to orange. Marriages in other parts of the world where spousal roles are not messed up end up being happier and they tend to last longer than what we have in America where everything is muddled up. You can argue all you want; you can't deny those facts.

  • bigdaddy

    well said -bravo

  • 7lady

    @Teflon Diva Does he have a brother lol! But yes I agree 100% with the article. I love the whole lady and gentlemen thing. I see no problem with being submissive to a man. I guess it’s not for everyone but I definitely like it. Somebody pointed out that’s why things are so messed up with relationships because of all these role reversals. I totally agree. It took effect on kids too. Momma at work Daddy at work (if he’s even in the home) nobody there when they get out of school. Yeah I prefer the50s lifestyle.

  • Tomi

    I'm liking the comments here. Black men and women disagreeing but still having a constructive conversation. OMG you seem to be the only one lowering the tone. The things you say are off point and you type in CAPS SO ITS LIKE YOUR SHOUTING.

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  • Kim A

    Well said.

  • johnny_wishbone

    my grandmother told me that the first date should be dutch.. and it is.. other than that.. i'm cool with this article

  • Traditionalist

    This article is spot on! I agree with everything. Ladies please let man take care of things, pursue you and the like. I hate seeing ladies chase men or thinking themselves too independent to let a man take care of things. That's a man's role in life to be a leader, females aren't supposed to be leaders but help meets for men. Remember women were made for men, not the other way around….and I'm female for those that think a man is saying this.

  • kram

    I’m from a family of 10..8 boys..and yes 1 daddy. I was taught to always hold amd open doors for ladies, pay on dates, a real sista will offer, I still insisted. She would then return the favor by maybe cooking dinner next time. It is a two way street BUT the man should take the lead. He should call and initiate the call. I’m ok with the article mostly speaking to core how to be a man values. We need to be out in front and a real man will want to and initiate. A real woman will allow a man to be out in front and not try and take it from him. True times have changed over the last 50 or so yrs with this topic but the a man values amd how to be remain the same. I’m a man of core values passed from my grand #dad and my dad. Don’t take this as wanting to be in charge or running my woman but we need to be the provider in a relationship. If he’s not willing to take the role you can’t force him and he probably lacks the core how to be a man values.

  • Hose

    No person (male or female) can 'let a man be a man or let him the man in a relationship'. He is 'either' A man 'or' he IS not.
    A real man doesn't need your permission or acquiescence to let him be a man. Period.

    If he utters the words 'let me be the man' then he has failed already. If you 'were' a man she would understand/trust you in that respect from jump.

  • Faux-Real

    I personally like the article, especially the last point. I don't think the article holds true in all aspects but in the beginning of a relationship I think a man should pursue a woman and pay for dates but after the relationship is established it's okay for women to do things. When I was in a relationship I paid all the time when I began working a full-time job out of college and my boyfriend was still in school. Personally there aren't many college educated black men available not because there aren't any many are taken already. So I decided to open myself up what I found was that most men only wanted to date me because they thought I had money always wanted me to drive, expected me to pay etc. and I feel that if a man's approaches me then he should do all those things.

  • Anon

    I hate this article. I can't believe people still are so into these gross gender social constructs. By definition I have done everything wrong. I buy my boyfriend dinner most times and he pays for mine as well, I "chased" him, I proposed to him, etc etc etc. This article is gross. Luckily, the world isn't as backwards, regressive and knuckle dragging as the comments and author of this repugnant piece of work would have me believe.

    • vibrant77

      You’re just upset cause this spoke of YOUR actions as a negative to women. You’re the dummy. I foresee divorce in your future

  • Juliemango

    I like to be pursued/led by men. In the pass i would give a guy the eye to say, “chase me” tho. More women should allow men to be themselves of course im not implying abusive personalities should remain abusive. Its easier to get along with men if they are free to be themselves – i learned this frm my maternal grandparents reltsh as well as my older sisters marriage!!!

  • Dream Job

    best comment ever…LOL…cluless woman…but i totally agree

    LOL good ones.. Walmart Giving Back After Laying Off Over 50,000 People.. $1,000 Giftcards – I Grab 2 of Them..LOL

  • phyl4real

    Good article. My opinion on the article is that if a man wants to impress a lady, then paying and being polite is all well and fine. On the other hand, being a lady myself, I will occasionally pay for things sometimes. (Times are hard.) Opening a door for me is always nice though; and putting my brakes on or changing a tire will compensate fine.

  • Gender roles may be a social issue, but the main idea of this article – in my opinion – is "If he likes you, you will know without a shadow of a doubt." The idea is to let him prove that he truly likes you and is not playing games. Following up, maintaining ongoing contact, pursuing further opportunities to see each other and overall thoughtfulness and consideration are NORMAL ways that people indicate interest in each other, regardless of gender.

  • The Mrs.

    I totally agree with this article but understand there will always be a difference in oppinion and preferences. If my husband “expected” me to pay for dates, didn’t pursue me first, open doors for me, etc…we wouldn’t be married right now. Plain and simple. We had values that matched up. I don’t care what anyone says, men are hunters by nature and women have a totally different chemical make up. I believe in the idea of the consumate “lady” and “gentleman” because it works and keeps order in the family unit and in the community. When we start to switch roles things get distorted and confusion ensues. Again, everyone’s different but I’ll hold this belief until the day I die not because I was told this is how it should be but because it agrees with my spirit. Just because women wanted freedom, power, and to be equal doesn’t mean they wanted to be men. There’s still a place for a man and for a woman.

  • heyou

    I agree with this article as well. I am a strong, independent woman, however, I expect my man to be a gentleman and treat me like a lady. It’s not old-fashioned, it’s common courtesy and proper etiquette.

  • jalita

    I agree with this article. Yes there are little exeptions that can be made. But a REAL man should always want to make the initiative to provide for their women. I remember prom I tried to pay for the food, and my boo refused to let me. He is a REAL man. We weren’t even going out. Don’t hate. On this article. This is how u get and keep a quality man. Even if u make more money, u want to make him feel in charge and in control. I open the door for my boo sometimes, or if he forget his wallet, I would pay….but those r only exceptions. gender roles work

  • sunciza

    I smell gold digging disguised as a "real woman"

  • realguesttalk

    Are you retarded?
    Doesn't this entire article exactly put into question what a real man is? And that gender roles change? The so called real man is a SOCIAL CONSTRUCT as is the real woman by the way. Jeezzzz, I feel sorry for the poor man who has to put up with a dumb brick like you.

  • Tomi

    Ree i agree with you. As a man i can see that a lot of young men today aren't how they are from my fathers generation, but then i see women today are not like they were in my mother's day either. If you want a man from the 50s then you have to behave like a woman from the 50s. If you are not a woman with good moral values, dresses conservatively, doesn't sleep around, pursues old-fashioned female professions then you can expect an old fashioned gentleman. If you are a modern woman, then you can't expect old fashioned gentlemen. If i take you on a date then i will pay, but i have a big problem if you expect me to pay, do you understand? Its weird but i just feel like that. Also if a man does all these things for you then he will have certain expectations because he will feel like you owe him. If he doesn't get what he wants then he will cheat or leave if he is a man in demand.

  • Ree

    What are we supposed to do about the fact that men aren’t men anymore? The lack of father figures means many of them never got the training. You can either wait 10 minutes for a man to open the door or you can open it yourself and not fake like a damsel in distress. This is not the 50s and women are taking on more responsibilities. Why shouldn’t men’s roles be adjusted instead of blaming the women? Boo on that…

  • InnocentTruth

    This article is going to keep sisters lonely and single. Charging that men should always pay for dates is strike one! With women making more money these days I fail to see why they can't contribute financially to dates. Remember we are both there to enjoy each others company. Strike two is always waiting for the man to call. I understand that women like to be pursued, but men enjoy the same as well. The author is looking at modern day dating from a 1950s perspective.

  • nursedred

    This is very old fashion but it really is still true. It is what it is and even though a lot of women don't like it either accept that this is how real men do things or keep taking your changes with these over grown boys

    • Sofie

      I agree. I understand why the men are angry, because the types of men that could be found back in my father and grandfather's day- are now almost non existent. However, the men who are upset and constantly screaming reform, when you all find a woman who you deem as "worth it", I think it's safe to say that you do the things mentioned above without even thinking twice!

      Its just amazing how angry some women are at this article!! It simply proves how much we've forgotten our worth. This isnt an argument on gender roles, this is common sense! A man who is in love with you will open doors, pay for dates and hell…he'll bring up the marriage/children topic before you do!

      ladies…..#know your worth