First of all, they do exist.
I am, in fact, writing this as a sort of back-handed salute and tribute to the wonderful men in my life – some I have known for a good long while; others, I have come across fairly recently on my travels.
What do these men have in common, you might ask? They all have an old-fashioned attitude to women that combines just the right dose of chivalry with a no-nonsense directness.
The directness comes mostly from experience and confidence, and a sense of being comfortable in one’s skin. This type of man is not mealy-mouthed -he doesn’t pull punches and NEVER allows a woman to pick up the tab. He doesn’t understand bill sharing at a restaurant and opens the door for a woman with the unselfconsciousness of one who hasn’t caught up with contemporary feminism.
When you come across this type of man, you’d know him for being politically incorrect and outspoken, self-deprecating yet flirtatious and often (and as a bonus) riotously funny.
He’s the sort of man who has almost come to expect women swooning over him. It wouldn’t surprise you to learn that he keeps a spare pack of smelling salts in his pantaloons for just such an occasion.
He would help a woman with a multitude of things – from advice on things that men are good at (engines, sports and hunting come to mind) to putting that advice into practice and being more pro-active than you might dare to be. He would not expect a quid-pro-quo (save those post-swoon fluttering eyelashes for later, ladies!) because that would not be proper. For he is a gentleman, and enjoys knowing that that is so.
He is a man’s man and doesn’t “do” metrosexual. He appreciates good food and wine, but likes quantity as well as quality. After all, the only thing that’s better than a bottle of 1990 Château Margaux is TWO bottles of 1990 Château Margaux…
He takes pride in his planes, trains and automobiles and enjoys talking about them just as much as driving/cruising/flying – fast!
Above all, he loves the company of women without fawning over them.
If you are a woman and reading this and want to know what he expects of you, read on.
For starters, he doesn’t want you to be his buddy – he already has a few of those and they are almost exclusively chaps.
Luckily for you, you can still be his friend – because you share common interests – but he nonetheless expects you to be feminine (not to be confused with feminist under any circumstances) and a little vulnerable.
Imagine, if you would, a recently beached Ariel…
You see, he is hard-wired to see the appeal in that– just as you are, whatever modern day doctrine you have chosen to embrace and however powerful and well-paid your job may be. So throw away those Blackberries, pick up a pencil and read on…
MISAs (Men in Shining Armour, for want of a better description and acronym) are red-blooded males and can be found pretty much everywhere red-blooded males go. This includes car events, car body shops, Formula one parties, marinas (men like pottering about boats, however small or large, for that matter), drinking dens ( try to avoid the lounge lizards that are spread languidly in fancy bars – they are predatory but you don’t want to be prey), any outdoor pursuits grounds or car auctions.
You can come across them quite randomly too – at an airport (or car showroom), on a train, at a reception or similar social event… They are not shy but can turn suddenly reticent when they fancy a woman.
They do not expect you to approach them – in fact, that would be a definitive turnoff, even in these egalitarian, sexually liberal times.
If they are interested, they’ll find a way of approaching you or simply attracting your attention.
They do expect you to dress (and groom) your age and gender. MISAs like well-turned out women, in flirty but not revealing outfits, long-ish hair (or hair groomed in a feminine way), some make-up but not a massive amount – as that indicates too much artfulness and not enough naturalness – and a certain elegance of posture and demeanour.
Dressing/grooming/acting as a come-hither girl panders to the lowest common denominator and basest instincts, and you will get what you bargain for.
Have a conversation and pay attention to what he says. Men would listen, relatively politely, to your natter, but overwhelming them with information is another big turn off. They don’t care to know your life story in great detail. The broadest sketch would do to hold their attention. Remember: if they’ve got a glimpse of the entire book and its ending on day one or two, they wouldn’t look forward to the read.
Simply absorbing what a man has to say without participating in the conversation means one and one thing only: you are a flatterer, and a pretty dim one at that. Your champion will think you either a witless sponge or, worse, that you have no interest in him and what he has to say.
Show appreciation for his humour if he is witty, or if he is not, for whatever his strengths are. We all like being admired, don’t we?
Don’t play games. Both men and women try to put their best foot forward, especially when they first meet. Affectation and pretence are never attractive, however – any more than saying “no” when you mean “yes”, should you be fortunate enough to have the question put to you.
Establish boundaries. Men would not like you better if you adopt the “anything goes” attitude. Do not condone swearing, crudeness and other typically male proclivities/attributes. Men would have less respect for you if you let them get away with it. MISAs prefer ladies (unless they arrive at them in a state of undress on a piece of suspended construction equipment).
The above is a 21st century women’s take on “The Rules” – and hopefully written in such a way as to remind us all that there are no rules. We are, each of us, individuals and react differently to different people. There is also no accounting for chemistry, which is the greatest rule dismantler of all.
In spite of all, I hope it counts as a genuine attempt to remind readers that men and women ARE different, in spite of political correctness, sexual liberation and the very real and ongoing battle for true gender equality. It is this editor’s sincere hope that we reach that worthy goal by learning to celebrate our differences rather than continually trying to bridge them – the latter is ever-increasingly being shown up as an exercise in futility.
The real ‘Men in Shining Armour’ would recognise themselves in this piece – and maybe have a little chuckle at their own expense – except that they are smart enough not to read this type of magazine feature. The MISAs in my life might – because I’ll make them read it.
Long may they last!
Caroline de Bref, Editor, B Beyond Magazine