Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to someone. I’ve posted before in my blog about the Scientist, but today I’d like to give you a little more insight into him as a man. Why? Because men should aspire to be like the Scientist. I’m going to explain to you why real men buy tampons.
No, this has nothing to do with the hero worship of romance. Anyone who’s been playing along at home is well aware that ours is a non-traditional marriage, based on friendship, respect, and three amazing kids. No, this is based on years of observation, watching how he handles situations, and seeing him mature and develop as a partner and a father.
The Scientist was raised in a very traditional house. His mother did not work outside the home and still doesn’t. His father was involved insofar as being active in Boy Scouts, and they played golf together as the Scientist hit his teen years. But when it came to the Scientist’s sister, the Banker, it was very much hands-off. She was a girl, and that was the Mom’s job. Getting involved with me was a bit of a culture shock, as my mother worked full time, and when we grew up, my brother could cook, clean, and do laundry as well as anyone else. My father could too, but he rarely did so if one of the kids was around. My father in law can repair a vacuum, but I’m not entirely sure he could actually wield one with any success.
My pregnancy with the Professor was not planned, and occurred earlier than we’d hoped. At the time, I gave the Scientist the choice of whether or not to be involved, as we were not married at the time. However, I made it clear that if he stayed, he was not going to be some sort of hands-off dad. He would do diapers, and anything else that I would do with a child (except for breastfeeding, of course!). He chose to commit. Now, at first, he watched me change the diapers, since he’d never done it, and we were using cloth. But he is a smart guy and within a few days, voila. He was an old pro.
As our daughters have grown, we both knew the inevitable time would come when they would need such things as bras, tampons, and advice on boys and dating from a male perspective that did not include things such as, “I’ll kill him” or “Hell no.” Coming from a family where females were devalued and treated much differently than males, I was adamant that our daughters not feel that way.
Because here’s the thing, men…you need to really listen here, and really learn. This applies to your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, you wife, your daughter, and any other woman with whom you consider yourself “close.” When you are too immature to pick up a sealed cardboard box that happens to have the word “tampon” (or any related noun), you’re not just showing yourself to be on the level of the 12 year old boy down the street. You are lighting up the neon sign that tells that woman that a natural part of her is disgusting to you. You are telling her that her body is so revolting that you cannot even sully your hands to touch a sealed box. You send the message that your love for her does not extend to include such a simple act. You send the message that you just are not man enough.
So why is the Scientist such a man? Because the first time that his daughter was out with him and got that panicked look on her face when her backpack did not contain what she had hoped, he didn’t freak out. He didn’t tell her that she would have to use wadded up paper towels (which is an unbelievably uncomfortable solution, by the way!) and just live with it. He didn’t yell at her for being unprepared. He didn’t make her feel like an inconvenience. He found a store, walked in with her, had her pick what she wanted, and took the box to the counter to pay for it. The message that he sent? “I am a man, and I have a woman in my life who needs my help right now.”
This same man drives a Saturn VUE that looks like a stereotypical “guy” car. Geocaching supplies, extra towels and clothes, snacks and other junk fills the back of it. He is a man who is always prepared, just like the Boy scouts taught him to be. There is also a hole in the driver’s seat where the ever-present pen in his pocket slipped out and got caught, mud stains all over the floor, and occasionally a travel mug with remnants of hot cocoa in it, long since dried. And in the glove compartment, along with the insurance card, napkins, ketchup packets, and an extra pen, is a box of tampons, just in case one of his daughters needs it.
He has taken the Professor shopping for bras when I was under deadline and couldn’t do so. He has taken the Artist to the doctor when she was having issues with recurrent UTIs. No embarrassment, no apologies, and certainly no regrets. His daughters know that they can broach any topic with him, and that has made their relationship that much closer.
The Scientist is a man who values the women in his life. He values them as a whole, with all of their aspects. He doesn’t pick and choose which parts are important, or which things he will accept. He loves them as women. And the best part? He has been an example for his son to do the same. The Ambassador will roll his eyes, but he knows that bras don’t ever go in the dryer, he knows that women who live together will often find that their cycles sync up, and he knows never to blame a woman’s emotions on PMS.
So men, if you are already like the Scientist, congratulations. You are definitely a real man. If not? There is still time. Put your Big Boy panties on, man up, and grasp the realization that a sealed cardboard box is not “icky” and cannot hurt you. Show the woman in your life that you’re a man, and that you value her as a woman. I guarantee it won’t hurt.