On this Father’s Day weekend, when lots of men are the recipients of ties, favorite meals or golf outings, I’m wondering about the opposite. What is it that women want most from a man, whether he’s father, husband or friend? It’s a gift they never actually put into words and ask for, but it’s one they deeply desire.
I found the answer to my question in a song from the 1965 Broadway musical, “Man of La Mancha.”
It’s the tale of Don Quixote, a Spanish knight errant thought to be mad because of his naïve idealism, who falls in love with a wanton serving wench named Aldonza. He recognizes her inner beauty and believes her to be the lady Dulcinea, to whom he swears eternal love and loyalty. Aldonza scoffs and tells him to see her as she really is—and to stop calling her “Dulcinea.”
But Quixote persists. He does, in fact, see her as she really is. But it’s not in the disdainful way that she sees herself.
“I see heaven when I see thee, Dulcinea,” he sings, and continues:
Dulcinea . . . Dulcinea . . .
I have sought thee, sung thee,
Dreamed thee, Dulcinea!
Now I've found thee,
And the world shall know thy glory,
As the story unfolds, Aldonza comes to accept the real woman that Quixote sees in her, and she can no longer bear to think of herself as anyone but—Dulcinea.
Psychologist Mollie Marti updates the idea: “Let others see their own greatness when looking in your eyes.”
To have this kind of effect on others, however, requires first that you are comfortable and confident in yourself. “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are,” as Jung put it.
In other words, to be authentic. To be real. To be able to say, along with Quixote, “I am I.”
But it’s not always easy.
“Real isn't how you are made,” Margery Williams has the Skin Horse say in her classic children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit.
“It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.”
New Zealand writer Sue Fitzmaurice says a man is authentic when he’s:
- Free from hypocrisy
- Unafraid to reveal his vulnerabilities
- Confident to walk away from situations where he can't be himself
- Awake to his own feelings
- Free from the opinions of others
- Accepting and loving of himself
These are the qualities of a man of gentleness, the makings of emotional maturity—what women tell me they want most in a man.
For example, songwriter and poet Charlotte Eriksson:
Some people make you want to be a better person, and that, for me, is the purest form of love.
And that, for me, is my idea of a Father’s Day gift for women.
In my next blog, “Bosom of Love”
Read my newest book, Fat Guy in a Fat Boat, in print or Kindle from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Guy-Boat-Peter-Yaremko/dp/0990905012/
Also available is my e-book, A Light from Within, about the small moments of our lives that seem commonplace until they are examined under a creative lens.
- Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R3SF200
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