Saturday, March 19, 2011

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"

The first time I heard this phrase and really had it stick was when I read Flannery O'Connor's short story by the name. I think I was initially attracted by the fairy-tale quality of the phrase, and as I'm getting older, I'm becoming increasingly convinced of its veracity in the dating world.

I'm having trouble deciding where to begin, so I'll start with today. In the afternoon I joined some friends for a couple games of ultimate frisbee in the park, and I only knew about half the players. I ended up on a team with my roommate and 3 guys that I didn't really know. Over the course of the game and during the water break, I became increasingly disgusted: their humor was crude, and one of them in particular was quite egocentric. That bothered me a lot.

A few weeks ago, I got quite fed up with guys who exhibited a similar lack of respect while directly interacting with me. One night (in a group context) I was cuddling with one of my guy friends while we were having a deep conversation; this is a guy I've known for years now, and it's a occasional token of friendship between us rather than being romantically motivated. The problem came when one of our mutual friends saw it, a guy who I don't know as well, and he assumed it would be ok to do with me the next night. I was ok with it for a while until I realized that he just wanted a girl to cuddle with, and I felt like that was very disrespectful of him. Don't "use me" and take advantage of me just because I'm nice and friendly! Similarly, I was salsa dancing in the same week, and one of my partners didn't seem to care too much about getting the steps right, and was more interested in dancing closely with a girl. Body connection is really important in partnered dancing, but if you don't care about dancing, you're just being a sick creeper and taking advantage of your dance partner! It is so disrespectful and selfish to use another person to gratify your desires like that! I got away from that partner as quickly as I could. Ew! (you're gross), ugh! (that's discouraging), argh! (having my good intentions abused like that makes me angry). At least I'm learning to be more careful, selective, and better at giving a firm "NO" sooner.

These and other experiences have gotten me quite frustrated and discouraged at times. "Where have all the good men gone?" Especially when I try so hard to live right, is there a guy out there who cares like I do? Or are they all out (with varying degrees) to "get some?"

Fortunately, I have been blessed to meet some very choice young men in my life. Simply knowing that there are good guys out there is a relief; getting to know them and being further inspired by them is a treasured opportunity. They strengthen my faith, urge me to be better, and increase my hope, because they really are trying to be like Jesus Christ, and it's reflected in everything they do. Some noticed qualities of these guys are that they really love people, they have a strong moral compass, and that they are humble, hard workers. They don't use or take advantage of me: they love me for who I am and have faith in who I can become. They are the very best kinds of friends (and those qualities can obviously extend to girls as well).

So, I want to say thanks for the good men I have in my life. I have my dad and my younger brothers who set the pattern for love, respect and fun. I have friends from my freshman year who were as clueless as I was and who were willing to grow with me. I have friends who are older than me and have been willing to teach me while I'm still learning and increasing my understanding. Above all, I have my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ came before and showed us the way to live so that we can be happy and magnify our potential to become like our Father. They are the ultimate example of what "a good man" is, and those are also the traits that make a good woman. I will be forever grateful to these examples in my life who show me how to be a better person and who give me hope.

Thank you. You save my life every day :)

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