We have a friend named Bruce who is a family doctor. Recently he related a
startling experience.

“I walked into the exam room,” he said, “to see a 14-year-old boy. He was
dressed in a collared shirt and nice pants. He jumped up to shake my hand
and introduce himself, then turned and introduced his mother.”

The reason this experience was so unusual, related Bruce, is because most
teens slouch into his exam room in sloppy clothes, mumble responses to his
questions, and let their mothers do the talking (because they’re busy
texting their friends).

In other words, this 14-year-old wasn’t a teen. He was a Young Man. The
reason it was so startling is because we see so few Young Men these days.
We see a lot of boys, and a lot of guys, and sometimes a lot of guys who are
still boys, but not a whole lot of Young Men.

Recently over dinner, our families discussed why this was. Like us, Bruce
and his wife are raising two daughters, and we lamented the dearth of
potential future husbands for the Young Ladies we’re bringing up.

One reason for the shortage of Young Men in this country is a lack of
fathers in the home, with the consequent masculine role models and strong
moral leadership. Another is the low expectation boys are given by society,
where chivalry is often seen as Neanderthalic.

But I believe one of the biggest reasons for the lack of Men is women.
Women are not training boys and men to be gentlemen; they’re training them
to be barely-restrained beasts.

A tremendous amount of blame for the lack of True Men in this country today
is because women no longer require men to be Men. There was a time when
women’s virtuous behavior meant men had better mind their p’s and q’s or
they didn’t have a ghost of a chance for a date, let alone physical
intimacy. Nowadays women are considered virtuous if they wait until after
dinner to have sex.

Men find great amusement in bodily functions and bathroom humor. Put a
bunch of guys together on a hunting trip and it takes mere minutes for this
to surface. It’s been the way of men since the dawn of time (shrug). But
it used to be that the moment a woman walked on the scene, spines would
straighten up, embarrassing bodily functions would be suppressed, language
would be cleaned up, and sometimes hats would be removed.

Now the guys will invite the woman to break wind with them.
Sometimes the women do. And sex is no longer the reward women grant for a
proper courtship and marriage; it is the currency women use to get momentary
attention. I dunno, I think I miss the old days.

Before the feminists begin accusing me of longing for a return of
second-class status, let me assure you it’s the manners and
respect that I miss. Remember the scene in Miracle on 34th
where Doris Walker entered Mr. Macy’s office and all the men
stood up? Or when she walked up to Fred Gailey and he snatched off his hat?
Doris was a strong, career-driven woman by the standards of her day, yet she
prompted respect and manners in men because she expected it. All
women did.

Men were once appreciated for their masculinity. They proved their manhood
by how respectfully they treated women and how hard they worked to provide
for their families. They raised their sons to continue the tradition and
protected the virtue of their daughters.

If a man (pardon me, a “guy”) proved his “masculinity” by fathering children
out of wedlock, he was shunned by other men (as well as by all respectable
women) and derided for his misdirected procreation. Not any more. Now he’s
normal, even desirable. Women apparently even seek out men like
this, if today’s illegitimacy rate is anything to go by.

But I digress. Back to manners.

In a recent letter to Dr. Laura, a man related how he sometimes has to coach young
women to graciously accept the help of a gentleman. If a man offers to
assist, believe me, it makes his day for the offer to be accepted. I speak
from experience since I just had a heart-warming
of half a dozen men coming to my rescue, all of whom were happy
to help.

Of course, one of the biggest prerequisites for men to act like Gentlemen is
for women to act like Ladies. And maybe that’s the biggest problem of all.

When a woman becomes one of the guys, there’s no longer a reason for a man
to treat her respectfully. Nor is there any reason for a man to change his
instinctive boorish behavior and tone it down in the presence of a woman.
Why should he, if she’s just one of the guys? She’s nothing special.

Modern women have the aggravating notion that they should still be treated
with respect by men without doing anything to earn it. They don’t thank a
man for opening a door. They turn down his offer to lift something heavy.
They refuse to take his seat on a crowded bus. Gee, is it any wonder men
give up trying after awhile?

The unpleasant truth of the matter is, if a male hasn’t had the advantage to
be raised a Man – in other words, if he enters his adult years still a “guy”
– then he isn’t motivated to change except by the behavior of a woman. She
holds all the power. She is the civilizing influence. Her approval, her
expectations, her joy and affection and compliments and appreciation are the
motivation needed to turn a fire-belching dragon into the most wonderful of

Like the men (and men-in-training) who came to my rescue last week, like the
man I call my husband, like the man who is my father, like so many truly
terrific men out there, any guy can become a Man – with the right influence
and motivation.

Ladies, the ball is now in your court.

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